Over the next few weeks, Refinery29 will celebrate and honor the work of Black leaders and activists — from the past and present — and their tremendous impact on the world around us.
Last year, we rallied around the hashtag #AcknowledgeIsPower — posting images, quotes, and content that highlighted the major impact of our Black brothers and sisters. By illuminating their achievements, we all learn about important pieces of American history.
Below, you'll see images from last year's Black History Month celebration. In the weeks ahead, check out our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for new images that will highlight the major accomplishments of Black artists, activists, and leaders.
Share these images with the hashtag #AcknowledgeIsPower to recognize the work of Black leaders and celebrate their legacies.
@charlenecarruthers is a leading figure in multiple organizations advocating the rights of black youth. From her work leading the collective of black millennial activists #BYP100, to her advocacy with the black reproductive justice organization #SisterSong, she's telling stories from whole people, with all the different pieces of them. "Black women didn't exist in this world just as black, or just as women, or just as lesbians, or just as poor people, or as workers, but all of those things. All of our identities and experiences reflect the kind of systemic oppressions that impact our lives." Learn more about Charlene's work with the #LinkInBio Photographed by @pauloctavious #BlackHistoryMonth #ACKNOWLEDGEISPOWER
As many of you already know, today is the first day of #BlackHistoryMonth. We'll be spending the next few weeks celebrating and honoring the work of Black leaders and activists — and their tremendous impact on the world around us. To start, a little #MotivationMonday from Maya Angelou. #AcknowledgeIsPower
Carmen Perez (@msladyjustice1) has touched on a little bit of everything in her advocacy. From mass incarceration to the needs of children in the criminal justice system, to labor activism, she's approaching changing the world from all angles. "We understand that if a person doesn’t have a living wage they’re more likely to end up in the system. We understand that if people are undocumented they don’t have access to quality healthcare, education, things like that." When we spoke to her, she had just come back from a visit to Flint, Michigan to help with the water crisis which has poisoned residents with lead-contaminated water. "There are no real resources. They're need of water, but also things like ointment to help with the rashes. People are tired. You could tell that a lot of the local organizers that we met with are really sick. The community is just in a lot of despair." Click the #LinkInBio to read more about Carmen's work. #R29Reads #AcknowledgeIsPower
"I really think the range of emotions and perceptions I have had access to as a Black person and as a female person are greater than those of people who are neither. So it seems to me that my world did not shrink because I was a Black female writer. It just got bigger." — #ToniMorrison In honor of #BlackHistoryMonth and badass women in general, click the link in bio for more powerful and inspiring quotes about Black womanhood. Illustrated by @tristanoffit #AcknowledgeIsPower
This #FollowFriday we're bringing in the #FBF vibes with photographer @mickalenethomas. "The gaze in my work is a female gaze from my perspective as a Black woman. All of the women in my work have a profound sense of inner confidence, and recognize themselves as the visible subject. Their directness is filled with agency and self-knowledge. They have all the power and control to demand the viewer to meet them in their own space, rather than being exploited or scrutinized. I consider the exchange of gazes as a metaphor for an honest conversation, rather than it being an exchange of sexual appeal or lust." Mickalene Thomas, Remember Me, 2006, from Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs (Aperture, 2015) #MuseMickaleneThomas #BlackHistoryMonth #AcknowledgeIsPower
February 4 is the birthday of civil rights icon #RosaParks, the woman who quietly changed the world from her seat on a Montgomery, AL bus. We all know Rosa Parks' story of calm strength and passive resistance. But when we celebrate her life we need to also remember that she was not just a woman who was pushed to the breaking point — Long before the moment that made her a national hero, she was also an activist, a leader, and advocate who worked tirelessly for what she believed in. The story of her life’s work was made in a moment. But she took her whole life to prepare for it. Parks taught us that it’s not enough to do right for yourself — sometimes you’re called on to be strong enough to do right on someone else’s behalf. Sometimes you have to choose the harder road to live easier with yourself. Sometimes, when you’re truly tired, you have to stand up for yourself, for others, and for your rights. #R29Reads #AcknowledgeIsPower
@iamderay drove nine hours to St. Louis to be on the ground and witness what was happening in Ferguson after the death of #MichaelBrown. He says that it was after he was tear gassed, on the second day he was there, that he became a protester. This is why. #DeRayMckesson told us his story in his own words — click the #LinkInBio to read how he channeled his shock and disappointment in the system into a platform to speak the truth publicly and a new mayoral campaign. #DeRayForMayor #BlackHistoryMonth #ACKNOWLEDGEISPOWER