Jorie Dugan, Legal Advisor, celebrates Amandla Stenberg as part of Equality Now’s 30 for 30, featuring 30 women and changemakers who have played a key role in making equality reality as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations.
Amandla is an inspiration and a glimpse of the bright future of feminism. As a gay, non-binary, intersectional feminist, Amandla, who uses she/they pronouns, paves the way for feminists, of all ages, whose identity has not historically been represented or embraced by the women’s movement in the United States.
“I never did not identify as a feminist, but I didn’t know where I belonged because I didn’t see myself represented,” Amandla said in a 2016 interview with Equality Now’s Board Emeritus Chair Gloria Steinem. “As I started to explore my gender identity, I didn’t know how I could claim the title of feminist without subscribing to the gender binary. I thought I had to be a proud woman to be a feminist. Then I came to the realization that I can be proud of women without necessarily identifying as one. A lot of people are rejecting the binary—that’s the future of feminism”.
Amandla’s presence and activism are critical for the feminist movement and women’s rights, and I am grateful for them. Amandla not only uses their platform to dismantle all forms of discrimination resulting from patriarchy, but they are intentional about the impact of their own work as a performer. It is no surprise that the Ms. Foundation named her its Feminist Celebrity of 2015, Time magazine twice named her a Most Influential Teen (2015 and 2016) and she received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress (2019). I encourage anyone to listen to Amandla’s segment on Oprah’s Super Soul, “My Authenticity Is My Activism,” and to watch her films, especially, “The Hate U Give” and “Where Hands Touch.”
Amandla is named after the Zulu word for power. That is what she means to me, a powerful force in the feminist movement engulfing and inspiring all in her path.
Amandla’s authentic and brave activism, giving a voice and representation to so many feminists who may still be finding and creating their space in the feminist movement, impacts the work I do every day.
They remind me that feminism is not solely about equality for women but, more broadly than that, it is about dismantling all forms of discrimination perpetuated by the Patriarchy. Amandla knows racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and women’s rights must be addressed together and, because of feminists like Amandla, I go to work every day with the goal of doing just that.