Celebrating Black Women Takes More Than A Month

February 26, 2021

After the epic and emotional events of the past year, the word “history” has taken on new salience. I’ve been reflecting throughout this Black History Month on the many Black women who have created, nurtured, and led –often at great personal sacrifice– the bold social justice movements we at FUTURES have been privileged to help advance today.

I’m indebted to the myriad ways these pioneers have shaped our work and inspired so much of our vision: that deep and lasting change results from transforming cultural norms in collaboration with male allies and partners, that ending –and above all, preventing– violence, racism, and trauma are at the center of our work, and that with the right conditions, healing is possible for allindividuals, families, and communities.

I humbly offer these appreciations of some of the remarkable history –and future– makers we have had the honor of working with at FUTURES (names listed below match the images above them left to right):

black leaders and pioneers

Kamala Harris, the first woman, first Black and first South Asian to serve as our nation’s Vice President, has been a champion of our movement to end gender-based violence and a friend to FUTURES through her groundbreaking work as District Attorney, Attorney General and U.S. Senator, seeking justice for sexually abused children, keeping kids in school, and combating human trafficking.

Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund has dedicated her life to ending childhood poverty. Her lifelong vision is in the headlines, driving bipartisan efforts to lift children and their families.

Kimberlé Crenshaw, civil rights advocate and founder of #SayHerName, pioneered the theory of intersectionality, linking gender-based violence and systemic racism, and her brilliant teachings should inform everyone’s work to bring an end to both.

Dr. Beth Ritchie, author of “Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation,advanced our understanding of the punishment that mass incarceration inflicts on children and how it devastates Black families, while too often failing to deliver any measure of justice.

Fatima Goss Graves, President of the National Women’s Law Center, and Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, helped transform American culture and policy around workplace sexual harassment and assault.

My heart is especially full when I think about the next generation of Black women leaders:

Tyah-Amoy Roberts is co-founder of March for our Lives, and was honored for her activism at our “Night of Courage” event on behalf of the Courage Museum.

Amanda Gorman, who has earned worldwide fame with her glorious inaugural poem, shared the power of her words with FUTURES audiences last year through our pandemic relief and childhood trauma awareness events, Call For Courage and Allin4Kids.

There are many Black women shaping the future, who are undoubtedly worthy of recognizing. I invite you to reply with the names of the courageous and creative leaders making a deep and enduring impact in your community, this country, or around the world. We will share your ideas on our FUTURES social media channels. The contributions of Black women can and must be celebrated all year long!

In solidarity and gratitude,
Esta Soler
Founder & President