The 2021 ESSENCE Girls United Summit 2021 ESSENCE Girls United Summit provided a safe space for young Black women to learn, celebrate and engage with other like-minded voices who share a common interest in topics including content creation, activism, entrepreneurship, money management, inclusivity and more.
Hosted live from Atlanta, GA by entertainer and talk show host Jazz Anderson, the 4-hour event featured panel conversations, spoken word, style demos, a trivia game and a musical performance. The experience also saw presenting sponsor CBS Original The Equalizer shine a light on the stories of three inspirational young Black women who are doing their part to make the world a better place against all odds and challenges, with a little help from the Unstoppable Equalizers in their lives.
As the Founder and Executive Director of the Brown Kids Read foundation, Ssanyu Lukoma knows a thing or two about turning a passion into an impactful social cause. Inspired by her Unstoppable Equalizer and mentor Kinya Travis, Ssanyu started her non-profit foundation to motivate all children to read more diverse literature, with efforts specific focused on children of color. “I just want children to always understand that there’s always a book for them and there’s always a book where they can learn about somebody else,” she says. Watch the video above to hear more about her story.
Choosing just one person to credit as being an Unstoppable Equalizer in her life wasn’t easy for Spelman College student and photography major Mahsati Moorhead. So, it’s no surprise that she chose to highlight two other trailblazing creatives whose work has kept her inspired: Professional photographers Carrie Mae Weems and Deana Lawson. “Just photographing Black people as people just living life is a form of activism because you’re just showing us,” she says. “The pure us, the real us, which is so important. And, I think that my generation needs to see that we can just be people, we don’t have to be standing up doing everything all the time. We don’t have to be on go-mode all the time. It’s ok to just rest and be yourself and they definitely showed that through their work and, it’s inspired me to try my hardest with my photography.” Hear more of her story in the video above.
For Jamaican Womanist Alliyah Logan, the intersectional fights for gender equality, ending gun violence and children’s rights are never-ending. She recognizes women around the world who are advocating for gender equality as the Unstoppable Equalizers in her life because they continuously lead by example as hard-working activists who have inspired her on her own advocacy journey. “It’s so important to me to have conversations with children and have conversations with young people around the world,” she says. “And really let them understand that they have power in their own voice and in their story to advocate for change.” Learn more about Alliyah’s story in the video above.
Be sure to catch CBS Original The Equalizer Sundays at 8pm ET on CBS. For more of everything you missed at the 2021 ESSENCE Girls United Summit presented by CBS Original The Equalizer, visit ESSENCE Studios.
The 2021 Girls United Summit is presented by CBS Original The Equalizer and sponsored by American Airlines and McDonald’s.