Victoria N. McGovern Photography

By Stephanie Younger •

Speech at Women’s March RVA + Expo 2019

At an age where I was extremely self-conscious about the way I looked as a Black girl, people would rather comment on my body than my intellect. At age 14, people attempted to stereotype, isolate and discredit me for my work. When I asked out of frustration why I was being erasing from my work, I was accused of being “ungracious,” and “acting out,” while self-proclaimed “feminists” watched it happen. I responded to it misogynoir by leaving that environment, and creating spaces for other Black girls so they wouldn’t have to ensure what I went through.

At age 15, I faced more misogynoir among other organizers when them accountable for ignoring Black voices, and I faced harassement me on the internet, and exclusion of my Black voice, of many, further showing their insensitivity to the experiences of Black youth.

It was imperative to maintain resilience by standing by what you believe in, in spite of those who erase our narratives, and in spite of those who refuse to show up for causes that challenge issues that may not directly affect them. After learning about the work of Black feminists such as Alice Walker, Kimberle Crenshaw and Angela Davis, I realized that imperative as Black folks to create our own table, rather than asking for a seat at the table where our authentic selves are not welcomed.

Stephanie Younger is a 16-year-old who advocates for womanism and the abolition of youth prisons.