April 13, 2024

Exploring the role of black leaders in catalysing social change

2 min read

Black activists have played a key role in founding and leading impactful non-profits globally, dedicating their lives to advocating for social justice and fostering positive transformation within their communities. The Global Black Impact Summit (GBIS) – taking place on 27 February in Dubai – will shine a spotlight on notable individuals within the black community who have made significant contributions to social change and community development.

One such example is Jackie Bouvier Copeland, who established the Women Invested to Save Earth (WISE) Fund to provide support to underfunded organisations led by black, indigenous women of colour. The WISE Fund targets initiatives that offer innovative solutions to the pressing challenges faced by low-income communities disproportionately affected by climate change. The fund’s programmes include financial support, mentorship and the establishment of a dedicated community for black and allied female leaders.

Founded by Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink is a United States research and action institute that identifies, supports and advocates for initiatives that advance economic and social equity for communities of colour. Collaborating with partners nationwide, PolicyLink has emerged as an industry leader in defining and exemplifying the practical application of racial equity, offering insights into the societal commitments needed to achieve it.

The late Wangari Maathai, an environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize honouree, founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya in 1977. This grassroots organisation focuses on environmental conservation by encouraging communities to plant trees and combat deforestation. The organisation promotes discourse on the intersection of environmentalism, social justice and female empowerment.

In the realm of legal advocacy, founder of the African Prisons Project (now Justice Defenders), Nigerian judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, has worked across the continent to improve the living conditions and legal rights of prisoners. The organisation aims to provide education, support and access to opportunities for rehabilitation. Eboe-Osuji’s work has been globally recognised for transforming the role of legal advocacy in marginalised communities.

These non-profits, founded and led by black leaders, exemplify the far-reaching impact of grassroots initiatives on addressing systemic challenges on a global scale. They serve as a vital catalyst for change, illuminating the transformative power of community-driven solutions in the pursuit of justice, equality and sustainable development.

The power of these organisations lies not only in their ability to effect immediate change within their respective communities, but also in their capacity to inspire, influence and foster a broader dialogue. These non-profits navigate complex, interconnected global themes of justice, diversity, education, environmental conservation, human rights and more.

As GBIS approaches, the event serves as a platform to amplify and unite the voices of black leaders who have left an indelible mark on the world. The summit not only celebrates these achievements but also aims to foster a shared commitment to building a more just, equitable and united global black community.

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