Tarana Burke (b. September 12, 1973) is a civil rights activist from The Bronx, New York who founded the Me Too movement. In 2006, Burke began using the phrase "Me Too" to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society, and the phrase developed into a broader movement, following the 2017 use of #MeToo as a hashtag after the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. Time named Burke, among a group of other prominent activists dubbed "the silence breakers", as the Time Person of the Year for 2017. Burke attends public speaking events across the country and is currently Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn.
“I know exactly how you feel, that happened to me too.”
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese politician, diplomat, author, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1991). She is the leader of the National League for Democracy and the first and incumbent State Counsellor, a position akin to a prime minister; (b: 19 June 1945).
Aung San Suu Kyi rose to prominence in the 1988 Uprisings, and became the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), which she had newly formed with the help of several retired army officials who criticized the military junta. From 1989 - 2010 she lived under house arrest becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners. Since ascending to the office of State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi has shown herself to be an autocrat and is seemingly indifferent to the sufferings of the Rohingya people. She has drawn much criticism over her alleged inaction to the persecution of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State and refusal to accept that Myanmar's military has committed massacres. Under her leadership, Myanmar has also drawn criticism for prosecutions of journalists.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (b. October 13, 1989), is an American politician and educator. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district, elected on November 6, 2018. She is the youngest woman to serve in Congress in the history of the United States.
“There is so much fear and hate. We must negate it with active, courageous love.”
“We can be whatever we have the courage to be.”
“The biggest hurdle that our communities have is cynicism - saying it's a done deal, who cares; there's no point to voting. If we can get somebody to care, it's a huge victory for the movement and the causes we're trying to advance.”
Autumn Peltier is a 14 year old Anishinaabe girl from Wikwemikong First Nation. Autumn Peltier has become an internationally known advocate for water protection. She addressed world leaders at the United Nations in 2018.
"I speak for the water because water is alive, and she does have a spirit, and she hurts every day because of what people are doing today in the world."
Jacinda Ardern (born 26 July 1980) is a New Zealand politician serving as the 40th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand since 26 October 2017.
Following the massacre of 50 Muslims at two mosques in ChristchurchNZ, Ardern said, "We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values. And the one that we place the currency on right now is our compassion and support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy. And secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this. You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you."
Her wearing of a hijab in solidarity with the Muslim community resonated with people worldwide.
A week later her government announced sweeping and immediate changes to New Zealand’s gun laws, including the banning of assault rifles and military-style semi-automatics, following the Christchurch mosque shootings.
"New Zealand mourns with you. We are one."
"We represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it."
Dr. Katie Bouman is an American computer scientist working in the field of imaging. She was a member of the Event Horizon Telescope team that captured the first direct image of a black hole, imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope and published in April 2019:
Dr. Bouman led the development of an algorithm for imaging black holes, known as Continuous High-resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch priors, or CHIRP. CHIRP inspired image validation procedures used in acquiring the first image of a black hole in April 2019. Dr. Bouman played a significant role in the project by verifying images, selecting parameters for filtering images taken by the Event Horizon Telescope and participating in the development of a robust imaging framework that compared the results of different image reconstruction techniques.
Dr. Bouman joins the California Institute of Technology as an assistant professor in June 2019, where she plans to work on new systems for computational imaging using computer vision and machine learning.
Her group is analyzing the Event Horizon Telescope's images to learn more about general relativity in a strong gravitational field.
The team captured an image of the supermassive black hole and its shadow at the centre of a galaxy known as M87. This is the first direct visual evidence that black holes exist, the researchers said. In the image, a central dark region is encapsulated by a ring of light that looks brighter on one side.
The massive galaxy, called Messier 87 or M87, is near the Virgo galaxy cluster 55 million light-years from Earth. The supermassive black hole has a mass that is 6.5 billion times that of our sun.
"I was in total disbelief. We had developed and tested our algorithms for years on data we thought would mimic that of the Event Horizon Telescope, but still there are always surprises in data. Pressing Go on a computer program I had written and immediately seeing a ring come into focus for the first time was amazing and exhilarating. We had prepared for years, but even so it was too easy! It was an unforgettable moment."
Jody Wilson-Raybould (born March 23, 1971), also known by her initials, JWR, and by her Kwak'wala name, Puglaas, is the Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Liberal Member of Parliament for the British Columbia riding of Vancouver Granville. Jody Wilson-Raybould is known for fighting political interference and speaking truth to power.
“I was taught to always be careful what you say because you cannot take it back. I was taught to always hold true to your core values and principles and to act with integrity. These are the teachings of my parents, my grandparents and my community. I come from a long line of matriarchs and I am a truth teller in accordance with the laws and traditions of our big house. This is who I am and this is who I will always be.”
Patrisse Cullors (born 1984) is an American performance artist and activist. Cullors is a noted advocate for prison abolition in Los Angeles and a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement and founder of Dignity and Power Now. Patrisse Cullors is also a popular public speaker and a New York Times bestselling author.
“What is the impact of not being valued? How do you measure the loss of what a human being does not receive?”
“My father who got cages instead of compassion. My father whose whole story no one of us will ever know.
What did it do to him, all those years locked away, all that time in chains, all those days upon days without human touch except touch meant to harm - hand behind your back, N****r. Get on the fucking wall, N****r! Lift your sac, N****r. Don't look at me like that or I will f*****g kill your Black ass.
It would be easy to speculate about the impact of years of cocaine use on my father's heart, but I suspect that it will tell us less than if we could measure the cumulative effects of hatred, racism and indignity. What is the impact of years of strip searches, of being bent over, the years before that when you were a child and knew that no dream you had for yourself was taken seriously by anyone, that you were not someone who would be fully invested in by a nation that treated you as expendable?”
― Patrisse Khan-Cullors, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir
Malala Yousafzai defied the Taliban as a young girl in Pakistan. She spoke out publicly on behalf of girls and their right to receive an education. This made her a target. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived.
She established Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to achieve a future she chooses. In recognition of her work, she received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014 and became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate.
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
“The extremists are afraid of books and pens, the power of education frightens them. they are afraid of women.”
Greta Thunberg (born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish political activist seeking to stop global warming and climate change. In August 2018, she became a prominent figure for starting the first school strike for climate, outside the Swedish parliament building. Greta Thunberg has recently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
"You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes... We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis...if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then... we should change the system itself."
“At places like Davos, people like to tell success stories, but their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag.”
“I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.”
Rinelle Harper (born 1998) is a First Nations woman from Garden Hill First Nation in Manitoba. In November 2014, she was beaten and left for dead on the banks of the Assiniboine River at the age of 16. Harper rose to prominence as an advocate for victims of violence. A year later her home burned to the ground and still she and her family remained strong.
“I didn’t choose what happened to me but I did make a choice to speak out against violence,”
“That’s how I think of myself — not as a victim, but as a voice for change.”
“I want to teach people that change starts with us, through education, by understanding more about the world. We have to ask ourselves how we contribute to violence and take responsibility to change our words and our thoughts.”