Courtesy of Mark Strandquist, Performing Statistics

I’m @blaquefeminist, a Black student activist/organizer who advocates for STEAM diversity, womanism, youth prison abolition and community nonviolence. In 2017, I decided to create this blog after creating a project called “Black HerStory Month” which went viral. At Art 180, I was given the platform to share my experiences with racism through art which ignited conversations about race and empowered Black and mixed-race youth in the Richmond area to do the same as well. I help other young people apply nonviolent conflict resolution at the Richmond Peace Education Center (RPEC), where I was given a platform to write spoken-word poetry in response to police brutality, housing discrimination, and the policing of mixed-race identity. After seeing one of my performances, I was invited by the Afrikana Independent Film Festival to volunteer as a youth ambassador at a screening of Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, where I met Angela Y. Davis, which poised me to create Angela Davis’ Black Girl Coalition. After about six years of participating and mentoring in life-changing STEM programs for underrepresented communities, I started attending Girls Who Code clubs, where I was soon selected to travel to Atlanta for a coding immersion program at G.E which not only changed my life, but also helped me give back to Black girls by launching Girls Who Code RVA. Delivering a speech at a March For Our Lives demonstration gave me the opportunities to create Youth Coalition for Justice to encourage youth activism among youth of color, and to write articles for the ACLU of Virginia. I was then invited to attend the ACLU’s National Membership Conference where I met and interviewed Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. Creating the Black Girl Coalition has poised me to write for Black Youth Project, speak at the Virginia Prison Reform Rally, campaign for alternatives to youth incarceration and eventually organize a march with RISE For Youth.