Ahed Tamimi has been released. After eight months in an Israeli prison, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist was finally released last week. The young revolutionist went viral last year when a video captured her slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier after he shot rubber bullets at her 15-year-old cousin. When Ahed was arrested, she was 16 years old and facing up to 12 charges, including assault. Since her arrest, Ahed has gathered thousands of supporters around the world. She has become the young and tenacious face of the fight against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
As Ahed walked toward her freedom on her release day, she was surrounded by supporters and journalists in awe of her strength and courage even in her youth. In front of the cameras, she enthusiastically speaks of plans to continue the fight against Israel’s occupation.
This is what it means to be a revolutionary—to know the work is only over when all oppressed are free. Ahed doesn’t stand alone. Here are five other revolutionaries and activists making waves and changing the world.
Emma González: Still Leading The March Of Our Lives
When we first heard of Emma González, her words became embedded into our brains right as she spoke them: “We Call BS.”
Following the devastating February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where a gunman entered the school and killed 17 people, Emma González quickly became the face of the fight for gun control. At the March For Our Lives rally, Emma listed the names of the 17 victims and then went silent. For four minutes, Emma demanded a moment of silence as she stood in front of the crowd- quiet and still- mirroring what it might have been like to hide in the auditorium, hoping the shooter doesn’t hear you and hunt you. Quiet and still- one of the loudest impacts in activism.
Born to a father lawyer and mother math teacher, Emma has always been vocal about who she is. In a powerful essay she wrote for Harper’s Bazaar, she identified herself as “Cuban and bisexual.” Since her speech, Emma has continued to advocate for gun control. She has been fearless, honest, and bold as she faces off with some of the most powerful names in the NRA and politics. She even reassured NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch that “I want you to know we will support your two children in a way that you will not.”
The best part? Spreading her message is natural: “We know how to keep people’s attention on us because we’re teenagers, and we have the phones,” she has said.
Yara Shahidi: The Hollywood Freedom Fighter
With pictures of Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, The Parkland survivors, support for Libya and denouncing immigrant detention centers, the actress and freedom fighter has become one of the youngest and strongest voices to blend both Hollywood and activism. Very Jane Fonda-ish.
Yara Shahidi became the beauty behind the sass and intelligence in ABC’s show ‘Black-ish’ that revolves around a modern Black family trying to maneuver through the thin lines of societal expectations as a successful Black America. The spin-off show “Grown-ish” focuses on Yara’s character as she tries to maneuver through college, particularly in these politically and morally hectic times in the country. In her show, Yara addresses issues of sex, drugs, gun control, open relationships and a variety of topics she’s not afraid to talk about. She’s being so real with her viewers on and off the camera.
Off camera, Yara has decided to team up with Eighteen x’18- a platform that encourages young people to not only vote, but become actively involved in politics. Besides being vocal about her stance on police brutality, immigration reform, body image, and gun control, Yara is motivating young people to be the next leaders and to begin by preparing themselves now.
Oh, and she got accepted to Harvard, which she will be attending next year. No wonder Oprah called her “one of the most profound 17-year-olds alive.”
Gina Rodriguez: Unapologetically Latina
Gina Rodriguez, star of Jane the Virgin, is a badass feminist. On numerous occasions, Gina has been outspoken about supporting women, particularly women of color. The morning the 2018 Oscars nominations were announced, Gina quickly addressed the obvious lack of representation of Black and Latino actresses. She has never been one to shy away from speaking her thoughts. During the SAG Awards, Gina spoke to entertainment reporters about the importance of women uniting. Gina has also been incredibly outspoken about the Time’s Up Movement. She has mentioned, over and over again, the need for women to band together and support each other. There is strength in numbers, and a large number of survivors speaking the truth will help change things.
Aside from being an all-around feminist, she is a hardcore activist for undocumented immigrants. As a member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s board of directors, Gina partnered up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles to find a Latinx undocumented high school student with plans to attend college in the fall. Gina has committed herself to pay this student’s Princeton scholarship for the next 4 years of her life- easing a heavy burden most undocumented students feel.
As an advocate for DACA, Dreamers, and undocumented immigrants, Jane has been vocal in her support, she even makes it a point to introduce it into the plot line of Jane The Virgin.
Being from Puerto Rican descent, Gina has always admired Lolita Lebrón who was a Puerto Rican activist and nationalist. She even hopes to play her one day.
Haile Thomas: Activism in The Kitchen
It’s hard to believe Haile Thomas is only 17 years old. She has a confidence only found in certain adults and a knowledge most of us are missing out on. But at her tender age, she is already making a change.
When Haile was 10 years old, her father was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Instantly, the Thomas family went into action by cutting out processed foods and heavy sauces. Since the strict changes went into effect, Haile’s father’s health began to get better- he seemed to have reversed his condition. Once Haile saw the effects of healthy eating, and with the help of her parents, she went into beast mode to develop Happy- a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching children the benefits of nutrition as well as healthy recipes. Haile says she aims to consistently educate more and more children about the importance of our bodies’ needs and the dangers in processed foods. So far, her organization seems to be making a huge impact. According to Happy, 87 percent of the children the organization has reached have maintained healthier lifestyles.
In her spare time, Haile works on creating vegan recipes. She is also working on developing a program that can educate more children digitally, through online courses.
Valencia Clay: The Revolution Starts in The Classroom
We know the revolution starts in the mind and teacher Miss Valencia is taking on the responsibility of leading young minds. Her teaching style is bold, outspoken, brave and refreshing. Besides teaching her students in the classroom, she is also educating her 132 thousand followers on Instagram.
Valencia, who has worked as a Baltimore Public School system for the past ten years, has gained national attention when her teaching style went viral and ever since, her lessons have become the coolest classes to attend. Valencia gets and keeps her students’ attention by using relevant public figures. Her lesson plans range from studying Kendrick Lamar lyrics and their relevance in today’s world as well as learning Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem Ante-Bellum Sermon.
In her classroom, Valencia recognizes that no student is too young to discuss topics often mishandled by adults: oppression, race, feminism, propaganda.
Through her realness and the trust she has in her students, she is preparing them not only for the future but also for themselves. Often teaching to Black and Brown students, Valencia is instilling self-awareness, self-love, power, and deeper understanding in each other them.
The next generation, no doubt, will be woke.