This year, as we honor the World's 100 Most Powerful Women, we also honor the women—the Black women—who have been instrumental in exposing racial inequity and are some of the most influential drivers for societal change. Kamala Harris, no. 3 on this year’s Power Women list, paid tribute to Black women in her first speech as Vice president elect. The group, she said, is “too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.”
Stacey Abrams, who earned the 100th spot on this year’s list, is a prime example. After losing Georgia’s governor race in 2018 by fewer than 55,000 votes (a result largely believed to be caused by racially motivated voter suppression), Abrams was determined to swing Georgia blue this presidential election—and she succeeded. Abrams’ Fair Fight raised $32 million for various Democratic campaigns to improve voter registration and registered 800,000 new voters in Georgia, the majority of whom were under the age of 30 and people of color.
“I think of my platform as a space where people come to gain new language and a new lens to approach their anti-racism work,” says Rachel Cargle, founder of the Loveland Foundation through which Cargle offers free therapy to Black women, a group historically overlooked when it comes to mental health resources. In addition to her Instagram page she’s been using as her “public classroom,” Cargle’s online community platform, The Great Unlearn, aims to foster the unlearning of the whitewashed understanding of the world by centering the expertise of BIPOC, with lessons about race and Black history directly from historians and academics. “I demand my community must move past offering ‘love and light’ and start taking action that moves things,” Cargle says.
Author and activist Layla F. Saad saw an opportunity in 2018 to help dismantle white supremacy via a 28-day social media challenge that called upon people to examine their role in perpetuating systemic racism.
Its success led to the launch of Saad’s book, Me and White Supremacy, released earlier this year as a continuation of her mission of holding individuals accountable for their complicity.
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