Six Black Women Leaders Carving Spaces For Their Communities.
By Thembela Ngayi
February 27, 2023
Before we wrap up Black history Month, we wanted to give flowers to some of the inspiring group leaders who are building positive, impactful spaces for the Black community to thrive on and offline. From dismantling the stigma attached to mental health for Black women, to creating a safe support system for BIPOC working in the gaming industry, these activists are harnessing the power of social media to elevate the scale of their missions for positive change and social impact.
April Bowler – The Official Hip-Hop/Anime/Gaming Community
April Bowler is a longtime gamer, streamer and graphic designer. In 2018, her boyfriend brought her into The Official Hip-Hop/Anime/Gaming Community, where they proceeded to grow the Facebook Group into a thriving community space. Out of their efforts came their businesses H.A.G Entertainment and the Blerd Business Network, which support other BIPOC workers in the industry while hosting “Blerd Bash” meetups across the United States. April and her boyfriend have since sold their house to live a life on the road dedicated to their business and events.
Delilah Antoinette – Black Girl’s Healing House
Delilah Antoinette created Black Girl’s Healing House (BGHH) Facebook Group in 2018 to fundamentally shift and challenge the relationship Black women have with their mental health, wellness, and spiritually. Her community of 62.1k+ women has become the space to find support and teach each other how to take back control of their lives. The group connects its members to free and affordable resources through workshops, classes, retreats and services, and continues to help women find therapists, life coaches, herbalists, nutritionists, and more to help them begin their healing journey. BGHH’s ultimate goal is to work towards bridging the generational gap and creating a new narrative between wellness and the greater Black community.
Ashley Nussman-Berry – Black Planters
When it felt like the world was falling apart at a time of pandemic and protests around Black Lives, plant enthusiast Ashley Nussman-Berry noticed that she and other Black people were being shut down and silenced in planting communities and forums just for voicing their feelings. Tired of feeling unheard, she created Black Planters as a safe space for Black gardeners to gather, relate to, and share with one another as they posted their latest plant purchases and latest learnings on plant care. The group has also evolved into a platform to help reclaim the practice of gardening, and remove the stigma around gardening that others might carry from generations of ancestors being forced into the practice.
Dee Harris – Black Girls Culinary
Whether it’s a family recipe or an entirely new creation, Davicia “Dee” Harris, founder of Black Girls Culinary knows firsthand that food brings people together. Defying the stereotype that Black Women should be perfect cooks, Davis has grown her online community into a safe space for 49,000 pro chefs, home cooks and everyone in between to connect through their love of food and improve their craft in a judgment-free zone.
Pamela Slaughter – PDX People of Colors Outdoors
PDX People of Colors Outdoors was created in 2020 after Pamela Slaughter noticed her grandson, nephews, and people of color were experiencing racism while exploring the outdoors. Understanding that the current social climate in the country wasn’t on their side, Pamela wanted to create an online space where people’s love for the outdoors can be shared and their efforts can turn nature into a safe and healing place that can be enjoyed by the BIPOC community. Her community of 3K+ outdoor enthusiasts are advocating for representation and amplifying a larger conversation on inclusivity, diversity, and equality one camping trip at a time.
Sara Valdez – Afro Latina World
Noticing the lack of online spaces for Afro Latinas well into her adulthood, Sara Valdez created the Afro Latina World Facebook Group in 2017 as a space for her community to gather, learn from and support one another. After years of building a close knit community of women seeking to reconnect with their cultural roots and learn more about their identity, Afro Latina World blossomed into a movement in the real world with Sara and her closest moderators founding their Miami non-profit called Women Voices of the Diaspora. With an overarching mission of wielding education and love as tools to erode prejudice and breed cross-cultural understanding, Sara regularly welcomes scholars for academic discussions, hosts open forums to discuss issues, and organizes community outreach efforts like youth music courses and food drives.
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