Charlene Carruthers is an activist, community organiser, and author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements. She is a founding member of Black Youth Project 100 and served as its national director for several years.
Black Youth Project 100 was created in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. The organisation has chapters throughout the United States and focuses on community organising, voter mobilisation and social justice campaigns concerning Black, queer and feminist matters.
After leaving Black Youth Project, she founded the Chicago Center for Leadership and Transformation, an organisation that aims to serve, develop and invest in the leaders of revolutionary social justice movements.
“I’m an organiser. And so, for me, all times are troubling,” she told Democracy Now. “They’re always troubling. And there’s always hope at the same time. I’m optimistic. If I weren’t optimistic about the possibility of now, the possibility of people running for office on radical agendas, the possibility of the young people who are organising across this country, the folks who have gotten back in the movement after decades, I couldn’t do the work. And it’s seeing people take action, be it what people perceive as small actions or major actions, that gets me up in the morning.”
Charlene has worked with the Women’s Media Center, Color Of Change, National People’s Action and the Center for Community Change. In 2015, she participated in a historic delegation of young activists in Palestine to build solidarity between Black and Palestinian liberation movements.
She has received several awards and honours throughout her career as an activist and community organiser. The Root 100 has recognised her as one of the top 10 most influential African Americans. Ebony Magazine has deemed her to be one of the “Woke 100,” and Chicago Magazine listed her as an Emerging Power Player. In 2017, she was the recipient of the YWCA’s Dr Dorothy I Height Award.Tags: Activism, Diversity and Inclusion, LGBTQ+