Letter from Latanya: Ten Gender Justice Influencers Speaking Truth to Power in 2020
Happy New Year! As I think about this start to a new decade, I can’t help but reflect on the timeless importance of speaking truth to power.
As Trump pushed the U.S. to the brink of war with Iran, I’ve been inspired by the fervor with which people in both countries stood against the drumbeat of militarization by repeating the truth—war helps no one. Feminist groups in Iraq, including our grantee partners, have been on the frontlines of protests against Iran’s influence and Iraqi government corruption for months, risking their lives to speak out. In San Francisco, I joined thousands at the local Women’s March in protest against war, rollbacks on reproductive rights, and continued racial, economic, and social injustices. I spoke to the crowd about how feminists have been shoulder to shoulder in the streets from India to Iraq, and South Africa to the U.S., speaking truth to power. We know that together our voices are louder, travel further, and rise higher.
While we can’t always be together physically, social media has the power to connect us in feminist solidarity across issues and cultures. I’ve been thinking about how we can all be bolder, more collaborative, and more authentic in sharing truth, calling for gender justice and building movements across oceans.
Here are ten of my favorite social media accounts doing just that:
1. Greenaction (@Greenaction_EJ on Twitter)
Greenaction is a multiracial grassroots organization working with low-income, urban, rural, and indigenous communities to fight environmental racism. They are based in San Francisco, where Global Fund for Women also has its offices. Online, they offer updates from the frontlines of the fight for environmental justice and prescient reminders to “divest from desecration,” “protect the sacred,” and “respect indigenous wisdom.”
2. Bishakha Datta (@busydot on Twitter)
An Indian film maker, activist, and a former journalist based in Mumbai, Bishakha tweets about a range of issues including sexuality, sex work, disability, and more. A prolific retweeter, her feed feels like an intimate and timely look into the various issues on the mind of an intersectional feminist in 2020.
3. Ramón Torre Cañal (@Ramon_Torre_C on Twitter)
Ramon is a male Latin American feminist who tweets primarily in Spanish. He’s an enthusiastic supporter of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including abortion, and we find his passion contagious.
4. Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_ on Twitter)
Raquel is a Black, queer transgender activist and writer who is currently the executive editor of Out magazine. She founded Black Trans Circles, which develops the leadership of Black trans women by creating healing justice spaces and incubating community organizing efforts to address anti-trans murder and violence.
5. Hoda Katebi (@hodakatbi on Instagram)
Hoda is an Iranian-American community organizer and entrepreneur. She founded Blue Tin Productions, a fashion production co-op based in Chicago. She seamlessly weaves together fashion, garment workers’ rights, climate disruption, and economic justice while unabashedly calling out politicians and corporations on corruption and hypocrisy.
6. Mona Chalabi (@monachalabi on Instagram)
Mona is a data journalist with the Guardian, whose data visualizations make hard facts impossible to ignore or distort – including by policymakers looking to justify the status quo. Her smart and concise illustrations elevate fact over fiction in a clear, comprehensive, and convincing way.
7. Gem (@urdoingreat on Instagram)
Gem mixes sarcasm and humor without compromising their critique of white supremacy, capitalism, the gender binary, and imperialism. They deftly navigate between Instagram and TikTok to reach wider audiences, especially young people.
8. Crystal Simeoni (@crystalsimeoni on Twitter)
Crystal brings a Pan-African feminist analysis to policy, challenging current economic models and fighting for gender justice. She’s the head of advocacy at African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), a Global Fund for Women grantee partner.
9. Noura Erakat (@4noura on Twitter)
Noura is an activist, human rights lawyer, and professor as well as the co-founding Executive Editor of Jadaliyya, a journal combining scholarship and advocacy on the Middle East, Noura is unafraid of offending mainstream actors or disrupting the status quo when presenting the truth about war, militarism, occupation, and imperialism.
10. Bree Newsome Bass (@brenewsome on Twitter)
Bree is a beloved freedom fighter who famously climbed the flag pole in front of the South Carolina statehouse in 2015 to remove the confederate flag. Bree is also an artist, filmmaker, speaker, and writer. She shares her unapologetically Black, anti-capitalist analysis of current events and highlights similarly bold and truthful news coverage.
Each of these powerful influencers inspires me to embrace the truth, no matter the perceived consequences. Without truth, there is no justice, no equity, and no peace.
Who inspires you to be bold, unapologetic, truthful, and powerful? We want to know— tell us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.