The 2018 YBCA 100 List
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts announces the 2018 YBCA 100 honorees, recognizing 100 people, organizations, and movements that are using their platforms to create change and move society forward.
Action for Nature
Youth engagement in environmental advocacy
Action for Nature is an international nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that encourages young people to take personal action to better their environments and foster love and respect for nature.
The Adventure Zone
The Adventure Zone is ostensibly a podcast featuring the McElroy family of West Virginia playing the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. What makes this particular game podcast engaging is the way the McElroys interact with their fans, integrating concepts related to identity, politics, race, gender, and representation. In turn, the story becomes a two-sided affair, and love for the characters has united real people in shared fandom.
Hadi Al Khatib
Documents and archives human rights violations
Hadi Al Khatib has been working on security and protection of journalists and human rights defenders since 2011. More recently, he has been collaborating with the Syrian Archive on collecting, verifying, and investigating citizen-generated data to document human rights violations committed on all sides in the Syrian conflict.
Founder and director, Vision Academy
Kian Alavi labors to create spaces in which youth can feel safe, be heard, and shine. He is the senior director of youth services at Good Samaritan Family Resource Center of San Francisco and lead organizer of the 415 Youth Framework, a social-justice training platform and quarterly learning summit for youth service workers.
Madeleine Albright is a former US secretary of state, the first woman to hold the position. Her impressive career as a diplomat and expert in foreign relations, as well as her own experiences as an immigrant and a refugee from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, led her to write her latest book, Fascism: A Warning.
Maria Alvarez is an accomplished young filmmaker and head of her own production company, MVA Films. Her films center on stories about female sexuality, identity, and coming of age. Her short film Backpedals screened at the 2018 Festival de Cannes Court Métrage and was a finalist in the 2018 Horizon Awards, an all-female Sundance-sponsored fellowship.
Mental health publication
Anxy is an award-winning magazine exploring personal narratives and mental health through an artful and creative lens. Each issue brings together different perspectives on our inner worlds through interviews, personal essays, reported features, and visual stories.
Author and activist Ashton Applewhite is a leading spokesperson against age discrimination. She is the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto against Ageism, blogs at thischairrocks.com, and has written for Harper’s, Playboy, and the New York Times as a recognized expert on ageism.
Erica Joy Baker
Access and inclusion advocate
Erica Joy Baker is a senior engineering manager at Patreon, is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech, and is also committed to expanding access to tech education. She is a founding member of Project Include, serves on the board of directors for Girl Develop It, and is on the advisory boards for Atipica and Hack the Hood.
Digital artist, data archivist
Josh Begley is a data artist, developer, and creator of Metadata+, an iPhone app that tracks US drone strikes. He is also the director of two short films, Concussion Protocol (2018) and Best of Luck with the Wall (2016), both produced by Academy Award winner Laura Poitras.
President, 100 Resilient Cities
Michael Berkowitz joined the Rockefeller Foundation in August 2013 to shape and oversee 100 Resilient Cities, a project dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to twenty-first-century physical, social, and economic challenges.
Director, Sins Invalid
Patty Berne is a cofounder of Sins Invalid, a performance project centralizing disabled artists of color and queer and gender-nonconforming artists with disabilities. She is widely recognized for her work to establish the framework and practice of disability justice, creating “liberated zones” for marginalized voices.
Los Angeles multimedia artist Andrea Bowers explores the intersection between activism and art. Her main focus is the necessity of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience in the lives of women. Her recent work investigates the continued exploitation of the poor and working class. She has been teaching in the Otis College of Art and Design MFA Public Practice program since 2007.
Decentralized multimedia project
BUFU creates spaces and leads multimedia conversations that push the boundaries of what intersectional communities can look like, and what inclusive and radical practices can be. As young femmes of color, they are a strong, fresh voice at the forefront of a long legacy of queer and femme community activism.
Founder of the ‘me too.’ movement, Tarana Burke has dedicated more than twenty-five years of her life to social justice, laying the groundwork for a movement to help and empower young women of color who have survived sexual abuse and assault. The movement puts the focus on survivors, inspiring solidarity and amplifying their voices.
Writer, producer, actor
Rafael Casal is a writer, actor, and producer whose feature film debut, Blindspotting, which he co-wrote with costar Daveed Diggs, opened to rave reviews this summer. Originally known for performing spoken word on HBO’s Def Poetry, Casal is also the cofounder and artistic director of the BARS workshop at the Public Theater in New York.
Human-centered design studio
Based in Detroit, Civilla is a design studio that seeks to redefine and improve the experience of navigating the social safety net. Their approach to social change in the world’s largest and most complex institutions has the potential to cascade across state lines to improve institutional services for all Americans.
Glenn Close & Pamela Harrington
Leaders, Bring Change 2 Mind
In 2010, Glenn Close cofounded Bring Change to Mind (BC2M), a nonprofit organization dedicated to conversations about mental health — raising awareness, understanding, and empathy. With Pamela Harrington as its executive director, BC2M has created a social movement around change by providing people with platforms to share, connect, and learn.
Writer, art historian, photographer
Teju Cole is a writer, art historian, and photographer. He is the distinguished writer in residence at Bard College and a photography critic at the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of four books, including Blind Spot (2017), which pairs photography and text to explore visibility and invisibility.
Morgan DeBaun, founder and CEO of media start-up Blavity, is a serial entrepreneur whose passions include building technology at the intersection of creativity and culture. She is one of the first black women to raise more than $1 million in venture funding, a finalist for 2016 TechCrunch’s Founder of the Year, and one of Ebony magazine’s 2017 Power 100.
Founder, Bronze Investments
Stephen DeBerry makes and manages investments that align strong financial returns with positive social impact. He is the Founder and Managing Partner at Bronze Investments where he uses investment, art, and community organizing to uplift communities.
Design Studio for Social Intervention
Artistic research and development outfit
The Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI) is an artistic research and development outfit for the improvement of civil society and everyday life. Its founders are dedicated to changing how social justice is imagined, developed, and deployed here in the United States through creative place-making, civic engagement, interventions, creativity labs, writings, and events.
Marley Dias is a young activist who, as an eleven-year-old reader, transformed her frustration about not seeing herself in children’s literature by launching the campaign #1000BlackGirlBooks to collect and donate books featuring black girls as protagonists. She’s now an author herself, of Marley Dias Gets It Done — And So Can You.
Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz
Ibeyi is a musical duo featuring the French Cuban twins Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz, daughters of late Cuban percussionist Angà Diaz. Their music combines modern pop, hip-hop, and electronic influences with the traditional sounds of their father’s Yoruba culture.
Director of Hip Hop Culture, Kennedy Center
Simone Eccleston is the inaugural Director of Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, leading a center-wide commitment to hip-hop culture as well as programming R&B, soul and other contemporary forms. In 2018, she established the Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council in partnership with Artistic Director of Hip Hop Culture, rapper and producer, Q-Tip.
Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet whose books include someone’s dead already (2015) and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (2017). As a movement worker, he has organized against mass incarceration and extrajudicial killing of Black people throughout the country. As an educator, he has taught at Columbia University, Rikers Island jail, and San Quentin State Prison.
Kevin Jerome Everson
One of very few African American experimental filmmakers, Kevin Jerome Everson combines scripted and documentary moments. His subject matter is made up of gestures or tasks in the lives of working-class African Americans. His films suggest the relentlessness and beauty of everyday life while also presenting unique metaphors for art making.
Founder, Make Love Not Porn
Cindy Gallop is the founder and CEO of the video-sharing platform MakeLoveNotPorn. She says: “We’re making it easier to talk about sex by building a whole new category online — social sex — to normalize sex; promote good sexual values and behavior; help drive better relationships and better lives; and ultimately make the world a better and happier place.”
Katie Gilmartin teaches at Chrysalis Studio in SOMArts and runs the Queer Ancestors Project, devoted to forging sturdy relationships between young queer and trans artists and their ancestors. Her Lambda and IndieFab Gold award-winning book Blackmail, My Love (2014) is an illustrated noir mystery that explores real and imagined queer ancestors in early-1950s San Francisco.
Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson
Creators, Broad City
Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson are the creators and stars of Comedy Central’s Broad City, a show by women, starring women, about young urban women’s experiences. The series has earned universal praise thanks to its comedic timing and chemistry, as well as its portrayal of hookups, crappy jobs, and, ultimately, their badass friendship.
Founder, 3% Movement
Kat Gordon is the visionary behind the 3% Movement, a project to address a huge inequity in advertising: the lack of diverse creative leadership, and its consequences for connecting with an overwhelmingly female and multicultural marketplace. Gordon was named Visionary of the Year by Advertising Age in 2018.
Called “the next great figure of poetry in the US,” Amanda Gorman made history when she was named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate. She is a founder and executive director of the HERLead project One Pen One Page, which promotes literacy through free creative writing programming for underserved youth.
Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal church in the heart of San Francisco that serves as a house of prayer for all people, welcoming visitors from all over the world. It has consistently worked for social justice — labor rights, civil rights, and women’s rights — as well as supporting San Francisco communities impacted by HIV/AIDS.
Founder, Art for Justice
Philanthropist and president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Agnes Gund used the proceeds from selling her art collection to provide $100 million in seed funding for the Art for Justice Fund. The initiative seeks to reform the US criminal justice system by turning art — including the sale of art — into action.
Winona Guo & Priya Vulchi
Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo are two teens who cofounded the “racial literacy” platform Choose to equip people with the tools to talk about race and act toward systemic change. Their latest publication — a racial literacy textbook called The Classroom Index — has been called a “social innovation more necessary than the iPhone.”
Student, literacy advocate
Jamarria Hall was a senior at Osborn High School in Detroit who saw the inequalities in how the state distributed resources between wealthier school districts versus inner-city districts like his own. He and other Detroit students filed suit seeking a legal right to literacy based on the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.
Homeless advocacy and support
Using comprehensive and data-driven programs, Hamilton Families is working to end family homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their work is rooted in a whole-family approach, providing support services and tools to ensure long-term financial stability. They help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness by promoting the well-being of all the individuals they serve.
Rujeko Hockley is an assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and co-curator of the 2019 Whitney Biennial. She was previously an assistant curator of contemporary art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she co-organized We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85, which traveled to three US venues in 2017–18.
Poet, writer, educator
Chinaka Hodge is a poet, educator, playwright and screenwriter. For over a decade, Hodge worked in various capacities at Youth Speaks/The Living Word Project, including as a teaching artist and poet mentor. In addition to educating and writing for the page, Chinaka serves on the Advisory Board at Marin Headlands Center for the Arts, and was named one of KQED’s 2017 Women to Watch.
Creator, Americans of Conscience Checklist
Inspired to create a kinder, more just world, Jennifer Hofmann began writing the Americans of Conscience Checklist in 2016. This weekly publication amplifies grassroots organizations on the front lines of voting access, equality, and the rights of aspiring Americans to more than seventy thousand subscribers.
Deftly bridging genres, from baroque to contemporary classical, jazz to spirituals, John Holiday was named “one of the finest countertenors of his generation” by the Los Angeles Times. The New Yorker describes his voice “a thing of astonishing beauty,” while the Washington Post calls his sound “timeless.”
Sky Hopinka is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation whose film work centers around personal positions of homeland and landscape, designs of language and facets of culture contained within, and the known and the unknowable. His work has screened at various festivals and exhibitions, including ImagineNATIVE, Images Festival, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, AFI, and Sundance.
Seeking to diversify the tech space, entrepreneur and video game enthusiast Keisha Howard founded Sugar Gamers in 2009. It began as a women’s advocacy and networking group for consumers and professionals, and evolved into an organization that advocates for those who are underserved or not represented in the video game market.
CEO, Equity Impact Group
With more than a decade of experience driving projects across a range of industries, Willie Jackson spends most of his time at the intersection of technology, behavior change, and leadership development. He is an inclusion strategist and start-up advisor; the founder and publisher of Abernathy, an online magazine for black men; and a purveyor of exceptionally dry humor.
Leila Janah is the founder and CEO of Samasource and LXMI, two companies that go beyond charity to #givework to low-income people around the world using cutting-edge social enterprise models in technology and luxury skin care, respectively. She is the author of the 2017 book Give Work.
Mary Lou Jepsen
Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen has had an impressive career as an engineering executive at Facebook, Oculus, Google, and Intel, and as a founder of several start-ups. Her latest endeavor is Openwater, a company focused on using cutting-edge infrared technology to create biomedical devices for noninvasive imaging, treatment, and even communication via thought.
Titus Kaphar is a painter whose artworks interact with the history of art by appropriating its styles and mediums. Kaphar cuts, bends, sculpts, and mixes the work of classical and Renaissance painters, creating formal games and new tales that operate at the intersection of fiction and quotation.
Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa
Poet, author, performer
Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa is an award-winning, internationally touring, queer immigrant poet and storyteller. She is the 2018 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion and a 2017 TEDWomen speaker. She co-runs an African culture and fashion blog at Noirlinians.com and is the coordinator of the New Orleans Youth Poetry Festival.
Coach, Golden State Warriors
On the court, Steve Kerr has a distinguished career as player and coach, and has most recently led the Golden State Warriors to three NBA championships in his four years as head coach. Off the court, Kerr uses his athletic platform to further conversations around gun control, national-anthem protests, and more. He puts into practice what alliship and political stewardship can be.
Naomi Klein is a syndicated columnist and author of several international best-sellers, including No Logo (2000), which The Guardian says “predicted the forces that explain the rise to the power of Donald Trump.” Klein released a new book in 2017, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.
Know Your Rights Camp
Youth self-empowerment campaign
Know Your Rights Camp is a free campaign for youth, fully funded by football quarterback Colin Kaepernick, to raise awareness on higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios. The goal is to help build a strong generation of people who will create much-needed change in the world.
The New York Times calls Hari Kondabolu “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today.” In 2017, his critically acclaimed documentary The Problem with Apu examined soft racism in the entertainment industry as evidenced in the long-running animated TV show The Simpsons.
Choreographer, site artist
Jo Kreiter is a San Francisco–based choreographer who engages physical innovation and the political conflicts we live within. Her company, Flyaway Productions, explores the range and power of female physicality. Kreiter’s tools include community collaboration, a masterful use of place, a feminist lens, and a body-based push against the constraints of gravity.
Lesbians Who Tech
Queer tech network
Lesbians Who Tech is the largest LGBTQ technology community in the world. They are committed to visibility, intersectionality, and changing the face of technology by pushing the tech sector to be more inclusive through coding scholarships, mentoring, leadership support efforts, and other programs.
CEO, Citizen University
Eric Liu is the founder and CEO of Citizen University, which promotes and teaches the art of powerful citizenship, and executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. He is the author of several books, including You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen (2017).
Logic, born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, is a rapper whose socially conscious mix tapes have attracted a significant, zealous fan base. His song “1-800-273-8255” — named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — has gone beyond music and changed lives by making it easy to remember the hotline number.
Founder, This Is What It Feels Like project
Terra Lopez is a musician, artist, and activist pushing boundaries with her work to inspire real change. In 2017 she created This Is What It Feels Like, an auditory interactive exhibit where cis men can experience what it feels like to be a female-presenting person in today’s society by being subjected to catcalling and other gender-based harassment.
Citizen engagement through technology
Firuzeh Mahmoudi is the founder and director of United for Iran (U4I), a Bay Area NGO working to improve civil liberties and human rights in Iran through technology. Its incubator — IranCubator — brings secure mobile applications to citizens inside Iran with uses ranging from supporting women against harassment to promoting electoral transparency.
Performer, Activist, Elected Official
Gaining international attention on Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Honey Mahogany’s work fuses art with the political. She is a Founder and District Manager of the Compton’s Transgender Cultural District, Co-President of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, Sitting Member of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, and an owner at the Stud, the first queer events venue cooperative in the country.
Luna Malbroux is a comedian who uses humor and dialogue across artistic mediums to raise questions about universal issues in society. She wrote and stars in the original stage play How to Be a White Man. She is also the creator of the satirical iPhone app EquiTable, which splits every dinner bill fairly — no, really, fairly.
Community organization, restaurant
Mamacitas Café is a women-owned social enterprise whose mission is to disrupt high rates of incarceration, systematic marginalization, and poverty among young women and nonbinary youth of color in Oakland. Through their business and the Mamacitas Executive (ME) Fellowship, Mamacitas creates great jobs and training opportunities that foster intergenerational collaboration, female-centered leadership, and healing.
The Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Gun control activists
Galvanized by the tragic killing of their friends and classmates in a mass shooting on February 24, 2018, on their school grounds, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School of Parkland, Florida, have shown extraordinary courage and maturity in demanding more than the nation’s sympathy — namely, real action toward ending gun violence and making schools safe for young people everywhere.
Marlon Bundo (the gay one)
Children’s book character
Conceived by HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver as a prank-turned-form-of-resistance toward Vice President Mike Pence, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is a gay revisioning and counterpoint to the Pence family’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, which features the real-life rabbit.
Founder, Chromat clothing line
Chromat began in 2010 drawing from founder Becca McCharen-Tran’s background in architecture. Each Chromat collection explores the intersection of architecture, fashion and technology, producing garments that augment and enhance the body’s performance through innovative design and cutting-edge technical fabrics.
Movement to end sexual violence and harassment
The ‘me too.’ movement was founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low-wealth communities, find pathways to healing. Their vision is to address the dearth in resources for survivors of sexual violence and to build a community of advocates, driven by survivors, for interrupting sexual violence in their communities.
The Sacramento-based four-piece group Mino’ Yanci’ seamlessly combines jazz fusion, rock, and hip-hop. Their 2017 debut features propulsive rhythms and intricate harmonic landscapes. The name translates to “Musical Freedom” in two African languages, which precisely captures the band’s artistic goal.
Author, activist, spokesperson
Janet Mock is the New York Times best-selling author of two memoirs, Redefining Realness (2014) and Surpassing Certainty (2017); host of the conversation series Never Before; a writer, director, and producer on Ryan Murphy’s FX series Pose; and a feminist tackling stigma through storytelling.
Singer, songwriter, actress
Janelle Monáe is a musician and actor who speaks out on behalf of those marginalized in society, whether for reasons of race, gender, or sexuality. She founded Fem the Future, a grassroots movement working to support and empower women — including those who identify as women — through art, music, mentorship, and education.
Dr. Pamela Munster is a physician and scientist at the University of California, San Francisco. She is a co-leader of the Center for BRCA Research at Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, where her laboratory develops novel targeted treatment strategies to allow patients with incurable cancer broader access to scientific advances.
Writer, illustrator, storyteller
Christopher Myers is an artist and writer interested in organically formed aesthetic bridges across cultures, classes, and geographies; he has been creating work in those in-between spaces for years. While widely acclaimed for his work with literature for young people, he is also an accomplished fine artist who has lectured and exhibited internationally.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Founder, The Representation Project
Jennifer Siebel Newsom wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning documentary Miss Representation (2011), which led into the launch of The Representation Project, which uses film and media as a catalyst for cultural transformation. Her second film, The Mask You Live In (2015), explores the harmful consequences of a narrow definition of masculinity in society.
Chani Nicholas has been a student of astrology for the past thirty years, and her work has been featured in Rolling Stone, the New York Times, NPR, The Atlantic, and Teen Vogue, and more. Writing horoscopes is her way of creating a free, communal, online space where healing can occur.
Connie Nielsen is a Danish actor committed to serving the environment and alleviating poverty around the world. After filming Lost in Africa in Kibera, a slum in Kenya, she cofounded Human Needs Project in June 2010, which provides clean water and empowerment services to residents there. She continues her work in film alongside her full-time commitment to the project and her Road to Freedom Scholarships program for children in slums.
Noname, born Fatimah Nyeema Warner, is a rapper and poet from Chicago. Her debut 2016 mix tape Telefone is ten tracks of deep vulnerability and chilling lyrics, centered on black women’s stories and the search for joy and confidence in an oppressive world.
CEO, Bright Research Group
Brightstar Ohlson is a strategist and the founder of Bright Research Group, a community-centered design and research firm whose mission is to help social-impact efforts become more responsive to the needs, preferences, behaviors, strengths, and voices of consumers and communities, in particular advancing social equity for African American and Latino/a communities.
Nnedi Okorafor is an internationally award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism for children and adults. Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi weaves African culture into creative, evocative settings and memorable characters. She is currently the author of comics featuring African superhero Black Panther from Marvel Comics.
Yetunde Olagbaju is a multidisciplinary artist, collaborator, and curator currently residing in Oakland. Through video, installation, performance, photography, sound, and ritual she aims to sort through how we, as human beings, orient ourselves through our emotional and physical landscapes — our timeless internal and external worlds.
Pod Save America
Three ex-Obama White House staffers (Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor, Jon Lovett) inspire the resistance in the form of weekly downloads and live appearances. Every week they make a difference with information, humor, clarity, and calls to action.
Director, Field Foundation
As president of the Field Foundation, Angelique Power catalyzed changes within its grant structure through research into Chicago’s needs and gaps in investment. Nonprofit feedback, foundation peer input, racial justice training, and heat maps of Chicago all helped reveal a path forward to funding formerly neglected neighborhoods.
Toshi Reagon is an accomplished musician and producer of folk, blues, gospel, rock, and funk with her band BIGLovely. Her latest work is Parable of the Sower: The Opera based on the postapocalyptic novel of the same name by seminal black science-fiction writer Octavia E. Butler.
Red Bay Coffee
Red Bay Coffee is a mission-driven specialty coffee brand striving every day to develop beautiful coffees, fair relations, and delicious approaches to living. They focus on creating opportunities within the community at large while fostering single-origin, direct trade, and sustainable coffees.
Executive director, Homeless Prenatal Partners
Martha Ryan founded San Francisco’s Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP) nearly thirty years ago to provide free prenatal care to at-risk pregnant women. In her first year, Ryan provided prenatal care to 72 women. Twenty-nine years later, HPP is a family resource center with staff of over ninety (half are formerly homeless) that serves 4,000 families annually.
Angela Rye is principal and CEO of the political advocacy firm IMPACT Strategies. As a CNN political commentator and NPR political analyst, she is well known for her consistent, strong commentary on complex legislation and administration policies that have long-term implications nationally and internationally.
Sean San José
Director, writer, performer
Sean San José, a native of San Francisco, is a director, writer, performer, and cofounder of Campo Santo, a group that gives voice to new, socially relevant performance pieces for and by people of color. Since Campo Santo’s founding in 1996, San José has worked on more than sixty premiere productions for the group.
Lawyer, privacy advocate
Max Schrems is an Austrian consumer and privacy activist who became known for legal campaigns against Facebook for privacy violation, including its violations of European privacy laws and alleged transfer of personal data to the US National Security Agency. Schrems is the founder of noyb — European Center for Digital Rights (“noyb” stands for “none of your business”).
Brittani “Brittsense” Sensabaugh is a photographer whose overall mission is to heal by creating and documenting narratives that get to the root of our psychological conditioning: “I’ve made it my business to go and document all the places around the world where Melanated people live that the media keeps a one-dimensional view on.”
Founder, Small Hands with Helping Hearts
Seven-year-old Ashley Sinn was frustrated by age restrictions on volunteer projects in her community, so she created her own opportunities. Her nonprofit Small Hands with Helping Hearts has gathered a group of dedicated elementary school volunteers who complete various projects, including East Bay community clean-ups and sharing organic produce from a community garden they help maintain.
Youth empowerment organization
Skateistan is an award-winning NGO that seeks to empower children and youth through skateboarding and education as a community development initiative. Its programs focus on helping girls, children with disabilities, and those from low-income backgrounds gain the confidence to become leaders in their communities. Skateistan works in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa.
Founder and director, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative
Dr. Stacy L. Smith is the founder and director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the Annenberg School for Communication. Her work examines gender, race, LGBT status, disability, and age on-screen, and gender and race/ethnicity behind the camera, in the cinematic context, as well as barriers and opportunities facing women and people of color in the entertainment industry.
President, Paul Quinn College
Dr. Michael J. Sorrell is president of Paul Quinn College, a 145-year-old historically black college that has, under his leadership, transformed from an institution on the verge of collapse to one of the most acclaimed colleges in the country. His “new urban college model” has become a blueprint for education and improving the country’s most vulnerable communities.
The Village of Art & Humanities
The Village of Arts and Humanities works to amplify the voices and aspirations of north Philadelphia by providing arts-based opportunities for individual and community-wide self-actualization. Their programs aim to revitalize physical space; preserve black heritage; build bridges across race, class, age, and expertise; question and replace unjust and ineffective systems; and construct new avenues toward civic engagement.
A capella group, Oakland School for the Arts
Vocal Rush is a five-time national champion a cappella ensemble based out of Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) comprised of singers aged fifteen to eighteen. Combining passion, talent, and dedication, along with the vision of director and founder Lisa Forkish, Vocal Rush has since its founding in March 2011 become one of the most respected high school a cappella groups in the United States.
In March 2018, Naomi Wadler provided a strong voice at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, DC, representing African American girls ignored by the media and suffering from gun violence. Then a fifth grader, she co-led her elementary school’s walkout in solidarity with the national movement seeking stricter gun controls.
Writer, producer, actor
Lena Waithe made history as the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for the “Thanksgiving” episode of the TV series Master of None, based on her own experience coming out to her mother. She has since premiered a new series she created for Showtime, The Chi, and starred in the film Ready Player One.
Host, Snap Judgment
Glynn Washington is the creator and co-executive producer of Snap Judgment (Storytelling, with a beat), heard on more than four hundred NPR stations nationwide and downloaded almost two million times every month. Before Snap, Glynn worked as an educator, diplomat, community activist, actor, political strategist, fist-shaker, mountain hollerer, and foot stomper.
Founder, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense
Shannon Watts is a mother of five, a former communications executive, and the founder of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement fighting for public safety measures to protect people from gun violence. Watts is also an active member on the boards of Emerge America and Rise to Run, supporting women who want to run for office.
The Wellbeing Project
The Wellbeing Project is a global initiative focused on shifting the culture of social change toward inner well-being and catalyzing infrastructural support for everyone. The project — a community of key global and regional social change leaders and organizations — was co-created with leading social change institutions.
Naudika Williams is a college student from Oakland and a graduate of YBCA’s Youth Fellows program. A natural storyteller, she focuses on sharing her own voice to empower her community. She writes, performs, and creates as a way to question, critique, and reclaim humanity.
Young Gifted and Black
Youth arts group
Formed in Oakland in 2010, Young Gifted and Black consists of four youth ensembles that teach Black history through historical poetry, contemporary rap, and liberation songs. Their aim is to restore the historic memories of Black people by reconnecting them to the heroes, stories, culture, words, and places of the past.