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Photo by Emilee McGovern

My name is Stephanie. I am a 17-year-old student activist, organizer and writer who advocates for womanism, diversity in S.T.E.A.M, the abolition of youth prisons and gun violence prevention. When I wrote an article spotlighting Black girls, women and non-binary people challenging the status quo in May of 2017, I decided to create Black Feminist Collective. After a year and a half, I decided to become the editor-in-chief, and began collecting, editing and publishing writings from other Black people.

After seeing Black folks experience police brutality on the news in 2016, I decided to become a youth leader at Richmond Youth Peace Project (RYPP), where I have helped other young folks apply non-violent conflict resolution to reduce gun violence. Being involved with RYPP, I have performed original spoken-word poetry in response to police brutality and white feminism, and I was also given the platform to speak at the March For Our Lives (MFOL) in Richmond, Virginia. After speaking at MFOL, I was invited to contribute articles to the ACLU of Virginia’s blog. I have also written essays for The Melanin DiaryReforming AmericaHoney For Your Tea and I am ZMKFleading up to contributing an article about gun violence prevention to Sesi Magazine’s Fall 2019 issue. My advocacy for gun violence prevention has led to organizing with March For Our Lives Virginia as an outreach director

When performed my original spoken-word poem about police brutality, I was invited by the Afrikana Independent Film Festival to volunteer as a junior ambassador at a screening of Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, and to meet Angela Davis, whose story inspired me at the age of 15 to contribute to Black Youth Project and to speak at the Virginia Prison Reform Rally. After I taking a class at VCU Arts Sculpture, I joined Art 180, where I was given with a platform to express myself through sculpture, dance, improv, poetry, paintings, creative writing and self portraits. In partnership with Art 180, the first march I ever helped coordinate was with RISE For Youth. It was there that I became an organizer who makes an effort to create in a community that fully invests in youth instead of youth incarceration.

In 2017, I starting participating in clubs at Girls Who Code clubs, and within months, I was selected to travel to Atlanta, Georgia for Girls Who Code’s summer immersion program at General Electric (G.E.). This not only changed my life, but also helped me give back to my community by helping launch a Girls Who Code Club in Richmond. “In recognition of excellent aptitude and interest in computing, solid leadership ability, good academic history and future plans in the field of computer science,” I earned an award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology. I also became a Girls Who Code alumni ambassador and had the opportunity to be part of their #TeamSisterhood campaign. Shortly after organizing and speaking at a rally in Richmond about the significance of inclusivity in conversations about science and climate change, I began working with the Virginia Youth Climate Strike as a regional organizer.

You can keep up with me by following me on Instagram and Twitter.


Events & Campaigns I’ve Worked With

#TeamSisterhood – Girls Who Code

Courtesy of Girls Who Code

Global Climate Strike – Virginia Youth Climate Strike

Courtesy of Virginia Youth Climate Strike

“Wear Orange” Rally Community Partners – Moms Demand Action Virginia

Courtesy of Moms Demand Action Virginia

Virginia Youth Climate Strike

Courtesy of Virginia Youth Climate Strike

Why We March – Women’s March RVA

Courtesy of Women’s March RVA

Justice Parade For Youth – RISE For Youth

Courtesy of RISE For Youth

Girls Who Code RVA

Courtesy of Girls Who Code RVA

Blogs and Magazines I’ve Written for

A Seat at the Table: 4 Black Girls Get Real About Gun Violence – Sesi Magazine Fall 2019 Issue

Benny Haddad/Sesi Magazine

Black and Brown Youth Have Fought for Our Planet – I am ZMKF

Courtesy of Teresa Younger

Why I Identify as an Intersectional Womanist – Honey For Your Tea

Joseph Blanton/Richmond Peace Education Center

Black Youth Have Been Combating Gun Violence for Generations – Reforming America

Erin Edgerton/VCU Capital News Service

How This March For Our Lives Chapter is Organizing to Fight Gun Violence – Medium

Courtesy of Steve Eberhardt

We Need a Community of Inclusion in the Fight for Gender Equality – ACLU of Virginia

Courtesy of Victoria N. McGovern

Schools Need to Guide Black Girls, Not Criminalize Us; Havana Chapman-Edwards on Activism and Girl PowerThe Melanin Diary

Mark Strandquist/Performing Statistics

Movie Review: The Hate U Give – Richmond Peace Education Center

Erika Doss/20th Century Fox

It is our responsibility as Virginians to direct attention to and put anti-black racism through police violence to an end. – ACLU of Virginia

Nour Goulmamine/Instagram

I spent my 16th birthday at the ACLU National Membership Conference. It didn’t disappoint. – ACLU of Virginia

Phuong Tran/ACLU of Virginia

Black students deserve more inclusion in the conversation on gun violence that disproportionately affects them. – ACLU of Virginia

Mark Strandquist/Performing Statistics

It’s Important to Listen to Black Girls in the Fight Against Gun Violence – ACLU of Virginia

Phuong Tran/ACLU of Virginia

An evening with Angela Davis inspired me to advocate for prison abolition for Black girls – Black Youth Project

Brandon Choe/Daily Bruin

The Bill Review – Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program Project Gallery

Maria Rogers Photography

Author – Black Feminist Collective

Mark Strandquist/Performing Statistics

The Hate U Give Review – HCPL TeenScene’s Read + Review

Illustration by Debra Cartwright

News

Stephanie Younger – Meddling Kids Movement

Meddling Kids Movement

“I talked with Stephanie Younger, a 17-year-old gender equality activist from Richmond, VA. We spoke about Black Feminist Collective, Girls Who Code, and Black girl representation.”

– Isabel Hope, Meddling Kids Movement

STEMinism: Exploring the Gender Gap in STEM fields

Caroline Krall & Annie Bennett/
Severn Fellows Project

A Test of Freedom – UCLA Magazine

Courtesy of UCLA Magazine

“Davis, now 75, has inspired generations. For example, Stephanie Younger, a black student activist who advocates for STEAM diversity, youth prison abolition and nonviolence, says Davis’ advocacy for prison abolition “inspired me to do the same for my community.”

Younger helped create Angela Davis’ Black Girl Coalition, which makes learning skills like conflict resolution accessible to black female students in marginalized communities. Hearing Davis speak, Younger says, served as an “affirmation to young and socially conscious black people who are willing to be a voice in the community that we will inherit.”
– UCLA Magazine

A new report shows how racism and bias deny black girls their childhoods – Vox

Courtesy of Georgtown Law Channel/Youtube

“Many of the women and girls who spoke to researchers also described having to deal with people’s expectations that they were angry or aggressive. Starting in childhood, black girls are seen as “sassy,” or accused of having attitude problems, perceptions often rooted in stereotypes of the “angry black woman.” “@GtownLawPovCntr When three teachers accused me of threatening a white girl (whom I didn’t get along with). I was 9. When a robotics team accused me of being “ungracious” and “acting out” when they refused to teach me how to code. I was 14.”

– P.R. Lockhart, Vox

Amplifying: Stephanie Younger – Amplifying Our Voices

Mark Strandquist/Performing Statistics

“An essential part in creating a better understanding of diversity is providing a space for people of color to tell their personal stories. In these features, AOV has extended its platform beyond our writers and reached out to 4 phenomenal people of color making a difference in their communities.”

– Maya Dummett, Amplfying Our Voices

#BlackGirlMagic Column – Sesi Magazine

Joseph Blanton/Richmond Peace Education Center

“Like most of us, 16-year-old Stephanie Younger didn’t see herself in the mainstream media. A self proclaimed student activist and womanist, she decided to step up to the plate and change things, starting with her blog Black Feminist Collective.”

– Stacey Coles, Sesi Magazine

How The U.S Prison System Oppresses Marginalized Groups – Was It Something I Said? Podcast Interview

Was it Something I Said?

AiC Members – In the News (February 2019)

Courtesy of NCWIT Aspirations in Computing

““To me, a computer scientist embodies kindness, resilience, and aspiration.” // In this post, AiC Community Member Stephanie Younger reflects on how inclusive computing programs helped prepare her to combat systemic bias and start her own coding workshops for Black women and girls. This post, originally published in 2017, was re-shared in honor of Black History Month.”

– Angela Galik, NCWIT Aspirations in Computing

An Open Essay to My Encounters With White Feminism – Richmond Youth Peace Project

Courtesy of Richmond Peace Education Center

Black History Month – The Martin Agency

Ashley Bozeman/The Martin Agency

“To celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth, Martin employees are taking over our feed to share stories of black Richmonders ­who have made an impact on our community and beyond. Today, art director Ashley Bozeman is recognizing Stephanie Younger.”

– The Martin Agency

Kids Demand Action – Style Weekly

Scott Elmquist/Style Weekly

“Younger isn’t discouraged by the partisan stalemate. She doesn’t seem discouraged by much of anything. She’s been called divisive and confrontational for insisting that the conversation include race, and she identifies as a womanist because she says feminism excludes her and other girls and women of color.”

– Laura Ingles, Style Weekly

Black Girls and the Shootings That Don’t Make Major Mainstream News – Sesi Magazine

Joseph Blanton/Richmond Peace Education Center

“You can find inspiration from other Black girls in the movement. A few of our faves: Stephanie is a student activist from Richmond, Virginia, who uses her blog and her connects with the Richmond Peace Education Center and the ACLU of Virginia to advocate for diversity in S.T.E.A.M., for the abolition of youth imprisonment, for the use of nonviolence as conflict resolution, and against gun violence.In a post on her blog Black Feminist Collective, Stephanie wrote, “The mainstream media’s abundant support for the students in Parkland and the minimal support for Black youth, who are affected by [gun violence] the most, is evident. This movement against gun violence has been deemed a ‘new wave of student activism’ when Black students have been rallying against gun violence for generations.”

– Andréa Butler, Sesi Magazine

Activism at 16: Stephanie Younger shows the Way – RVA Magazine

Mark Strandquist/Performing Statistics

“Most 16-year-olds aren’t writing articles for the ACLU of Virginia, planning to help lead a parade centered around juvenile justice, or interviewing Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors. 16-year-old Stephanie Younger is: and this is only the beginning.”

– Brianna Scott, RVA Magazine

The Power in the Simplest of Actions – RVA Magazine

Courtesy of Valley Haggard/Facebook

“At the beginning and end we heard speeches (one by my friend Stephanie), songs, raps, poetry, and freestyle dances, all of which went to support a bigger cause.”

– Henry Haggard, RVA Magazine

Women and Politics – WRIR 97.3 FM Richmond Independent Radio Interview

Courtesy of Women and Politics

Youth Gather to Discuss Gun Violence – Richmond Peace Education Center

Joseph Blanton/Richmond Peace Education Center

“Participants offered several unique insights on how gun violence impacts people from different places and backgrounds, and also the need to think about gun violence as an issue of racial equity as well. Stephanie Younger shared her reflections on the impact of gun violence as it pertains to race, “As a member of the Richmond Peace Education Center, I think it’s important to regard how black communities are disproportionately affected by gun violence, and how important it is to uplift their voices. We have a racist history of gun violence, and it’s our responsibility as Virginian’s to put this to an end.”

– Joseph Blanton, Richmond Peace Education Center

Community forum on gun safety and violence set for May 5 – Richmond Free Press

Courtesy of Schuyler Van Valkenburg

“Panelists for Saturday’s event include Richmond School Board member Felicia Cosby, 6th District; the Rev. Marcus Martin of Newbridge Baptist Church; Stephanie Younger, a youth activist with the Richmond Peace Education Center; Richmond Deputy Police Chief Eric English; and City Council President Chris A. Hilbert, 3rd District.”

– Richmond Free Press

Students organize “Town Hall for our Lives” – NBC 12 News

Courtesy of NBC12

“I thought it would be a movement for keeping our schools safe, but it’s not just that. It’s helping our black communities and those disproportionately affected by gun violence,” explained Stephanie Younger, a 15-year-old who works with the Richmond Peace Education Center. “It continues to happen to marginalized groups, and I want to uplift the voices of the black community who has been fighting for gun reform for generations.”

– Jasmine Turner, NBC12

Richmond students, community rally in the thousands for gun control – VCU Capital News Service; WTVR CBS 6 News; ABC 8 News; NBC 12 News; Richmond Free Press; Church Hill People’s News

Courtesy of Church Hill People’s News

“Speakers also emphasized the greater impact gun violence has on the African-American community, tying it to historical acts of violence against minorities.

“How many more black families will be devastated by gun violence – threatened or killed by the people whose job it is to serve and protect?” Stephanie Younger, an activist with the Richmond Youth Peace Project, asked the crowd.

“How many more times do my parents have to give me that talk explaining to me that I’m 10 times more likely to become a victim of gun violence because I am black?”

– Irena Schunn and George Copeland Jr., Capital News Service

Does My Life Matter – Richmond Youth Peace Project

Courtesy of Richmond Peace Education Center