Stephanie Younger is a 20-year-old based in Richmond, Virginia, where her work centers the intersections Black feminism and womanism have with police and prison abolition. Stephanie’s work regarding Black feminism, womanism and abolition is inspired by Black liberationists like Angela Davis, and heavily influenced by her experiences with anti-Blackness while attending Henrico County Public Schools as a young Black girl, and her experiences being adultified and criminalized throughout her childhood. Stephanie’s middle-class upbringing in Henrico County, VA is not without privilege, and she knows that it’s imperative to commit herself to police and prison abolition by working with other Black youth and centering their voices to invest in transformative ways to address harm and violence that don’t involve the police or prisons. At 14, she channeled the grief she held for Black people who were murdered by police, as well as her own trauma, into writing and working with other Black youth to apply conflict resolution to address harm and violence at Richmond Youth Peace Project (RYPP), and to dismantle the youth prison system in Virginia at RISE For Youth. She holds her first experiences in community organizing at both RYPP and RISE, and is involved with Virginia Student Power Network; all of which have a special place in her heart. You can learn more about her on Richmond Times-Dispatch, RVA Magazine and Hello, I Am.
By Stephanie Younger • When we spoke with Nupol Kiazolu in 2018, she was completing her senior year of high school, preparing to attend Hampton University, and she was the President of Black Lives Matter Greater New York Youth Coalition. She is now 22 years old, and next year, she will graudate Hampton University with her degree in political science and begin law school.
By Stephanie Younger • The 2020 uprisings in defense of Black life made an abolitionist politic accessible to many people, allowing us to reevaluate why we are conditioned to believe that carceral systems work, that police keep communities safe, and how we can make this system obsolete.
By Teresa Younger and Stephanie Younger • The community fridge is a concept and a place where communities are given access to share and collect food. In August, we had a conversation with Taylor Scott, about mutual aid, how she brought the community fridge to Richmond, Virginia and founded RVA Community Fridges in 2020.
By Stephanie Younger • At the Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership (KGCCWL) Virtual Spring Conference, I had the unforgettable experience of interviewing Ruby Sales, a freedom fighter, theologian, and founder of the SpiritHouse Project. I am honored to have had this conversation with Ruby Sales, and to have this knowledge shared with me because there are so many similarities between our journeys as Black liberationists.
By Stephanie Younger • Last week, we spoke with Fatima Derby, a Ghanaian feminist thinker, writer and organizer, who stands for freedom, justice and equality. During our conversation via Instagram Live, we discussed the violence LGBTQ+ people in Ghana are experiencing, what influences homophobic and transphobic violence against queer and trans Ghanaians, and the fight for their liberation.
By Stephanie Younger • We said abolish the police and abolish the prison industrial complex, not “representation” of Black women who maintain those systems.
By Stephanie Younger • In 1983, Alice Walker, a Black feminist, poet, author and activist coined the term “womanist” in her book, “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens: Womanist Prose.” Womanism offers a space for Black feminists who have been erased from our own labor for the mainstream feminist movement, which often centers white, cis women who are seeking to be equal to white, cis men.
By Stephanie Younger • Little Fires Everywhere is a limited series on Hulu, based on the book authored and published in 2017 by Celeste Ng, that aired from March 2020 to April 2020. The series takes place in 1997, and begins when Mia Warren (Kerry Washington), an itinerant artist and her daughter Pearl (Lexi Underwood) move to a property in a liberal, wealthy neighborhood in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
By Stephanie Younger • During a revolution about police and prison abolition, liberals have been advising the Black youth who are advancing these movements to “just vote.” A remarkable example of this paternalistic behavior is experienced from white liberal feminists who, instead of organizing 52% of white female voters who helped Trump win in 2016 to not elect him for another term, are choosing to further silence young Black feminists and abolitionists when the politicians of their liking fail social movements many of our self-proclaimed “allies” claim to care about.
By Stephanie Younger • 10 days ago, I climbed up the Robert E. Lee Statue at a protest in Richmond, Virginia—the former capital of the Confederacy—and I was asked to speak. This was unplanned, and I have been grieving so heavily these past few weeks that I had no idea what to speak about at first.
By Stephanie Younger • When white liberals invited me to organize amongst them, it often took a while for me to realize that I was being exploited.
By Stephanie Younger • In late January, I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed during my break in between college lectures when I came across a post that claims that referring to a white woman as a “Karen” is “misogynistic,” “marginalizes” white women and ignores their needs which they often demand at the expense of Black lives.
By Stephanie Younger • This year, the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles chapter was excluded by the Women’s March Los Angeles. In an article for LA Progressive, Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter LA, wrote an article detailing the harm caused by the Women’s March.
By Stephanie Younger • Do the ways we talk about gender stereotypes represent the struggles we all go through?
By Stephanie Younger • Are all people in America served and protected by the law?
By Stephanie Younger • Even though Black youth and youth of color – especially Indigenous youth – are the most affected communities by climate change, and have been combating this issue for a very long time, our voices are always excluded and left out of the conversation and action surrounding climate change.
By Stephanie Younger • Nearly a year ago, I was given the opportunity to deliver a speech at the March For Our Lives rally in Richmond, Virginia, which led to being quoted in multiple local news outlets, being invited to write articles for the ACLU of Virginia, and to organize with a group of student activists. In the midst of these opportunities, I faced racism and online harassment by the students who organized the local March For Our Lives rally.
By Stephanie Younger • The most disheartening racism I experienced was by the white moderate, by the white progressive who claims to believe Black lives matter to them, and the white feminist who claims to be an ally, until proven otherwise.
By Stephanie Younger • Speech at Women’s March RVA + Expo 2019
By Stephanie Younger • Black Women are Being Left Out of the Conversation Surrounding Human Trafficking.
By Stephanie Younger • 7-year-old student activist Havana Chapman-Edwards was the only student at her school in Alexandria, Virginia to participate in the National School Walkout to honor the victims of the 1999 Columbine school shooting.
By Stephanie Younger • On Saturday afternoon, the Richmond community joined RISE For Youth, Art 180, and Performing Statistics, to “honor the voices, dreams and demands of youth affected by the school-to-prison pipeline.”
By Stephanie Younger • The Hate U Give is a movie based on the acclaimed YA novel by Angie Thomas. Directed by George Tillman Jr., the movie opens with 16-year-old Starr Carter’s (Amandla Stenberg) narrating her recollection of being given “the talk” by her formerly-incarcerated father Maverick (Russell Hornsby), on how to survive encounters with the police.
By Stephanie Younger • Art 180 is an RVA-based organization that gives marginalized young people the opportunity to create change by expressing themselves through music, poetry, dance, and more. On Friday, they opened the exhibition, “Lift Us Up! Don’t Push Us Out!” a mixed-reality exhibit that raises awareness about the school-to-prison pipeline, the youth and their families affected by this issue.
By Stephanie Younger • I recently met Princess Blanding at an art build for the upcoming National March For Justice and Reformation for Marcus-David Peters on October 13th. In May of this year, Blanding’s brother, Marcus-David Peters, was murdered by the Richmond Police Department while he was having a mental health crisis; and just yesterday, the commonwealth attorney of Richmond, Virginia ruled the murder a “justifiable homicide.” This week, I spoke with Blanding about the movement demanding Justice and Reformation for her brother.
By Stephanie Younger • In June, I met Patrisse Cullors briefly after she accepted the “Next Generation Award” at the ACLU National Membership Conference. Cullors is an organizer, writer and artist who co-founded Black Lives Matter Global Network and founded Dignity and Power Now.
By Stephanie Younger • My painting in Art 180’s gallery, “Everything is Connected,” is about the racism I experienced within the gun violence prevention community. The different colors represent the emotions I felt throughout the time I faced online harassment.
By Stephanie Younger • The murder of Trayvon Martin ‘ignited a fire’ within the heart of a then 12-year-old Nupol Kiazolu she says she has never felt before. “I couldn’t fully articulate how I felt at the time, but I knew I was angry,” she wrote in an Instagram post in February.
By Stephanie Younger • Virginia, we have a problem. We need to come to terms with our state’s history of the marginalization of the Black community. Virginia is where the first enslaved Africans were brought against their will. We live in Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy.
By Stephanie Younger • The following list is based on my real experiences with misogyny, ableism and anti-Black racism, that I’ve written on a mixed-media piece I created during an art program at the VCU Arts’ Department of Sculpture + Extended Media. Today, my artwork—among my classmates’ artwork—was included in a gallery at Art 180.
By Stephanie Younger • Today, I was a speaker at a March For Our Lives demonstration in Richmond, Virginia addressing the fatal school shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida. My speech shed some light onto how gun violence disproportionately affects women, queer and trans people, and Black communities.
By Stephanie Younger • On Friday, November 3rd, hundreds in Richmond, Virginia attended the Juvenile Justice Parade, organized by RISE For Youth, Art 180 and the Performing Statistics project calling for the closure of youth prisons in Virginia.
By Stephanie Younger • On August 11-12, Klansmen, and Neo-Nazis attended the Unite the Right Rally, a demonstration against the removal of the Confederate monument. They attacked counter-protestors, many who were of anti-fascist and anti-racist activists.
By Stephanie Younger • Originally published on HCPL TeenScene’s Read & Review • A 16-year-old Black teen who has witnessed the two fatal shootings of her childhood best friends, tries to make sense of the world. Starr Carter witnessed the first shooting when she was ten.
By Stephanie Younger • Last month, I made a short video that celebrates the intersections of Black history & feminist history. Why both? Many institutions fail to educate people about Black liberation and the feminist movement from the narratives Black women, Black girls and Black non-binary people, who have fortified our movements in such powerful ways, but are often discredited for their work on the frontlines of Black liberation—which is often centered around cishet Black men, and mainstream feminism—which often centers cishet white women.