Young Icons Category Header & Logo 2021
Cassius Young Icons cover

Source: JD Barnes for Cassius Life / Cassius Life

In a year marred by pandemics, political unrest and a volatile economy, the emotional burdens of Black America have been made heavier by the plague of systemic violence.

2020 was a year marked by devastating loss for our people as police and state-sanctioned violence claimed the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and Daniel Prude, among others. Police violence forever changed of people like Jacob Blake. Young people like Ahmaud Arbery and Oluwatoyin Salau were killed in senseless violence that we have, unfortunately, come to know too well in our communities.

And yet, 2020 was also a year that we fought back. Like so many generations before us, Black people from all walks of life took to the streets to demand justice, shouting the names of those whom the system has failed and speaking to truth to power.

While activism knows no age, Black youth is often unfairly accused of apathy toward social justice. At Cassius, we know that could not be further from the truth. For Black History Month 2021, Cassius is taking an in-depth look at Young Icons from around the country. From organizers to artists to students, the folks you will see honored are laying the groundwork for their future.

Over the course of the next month, through video, photography, interviews and multimedia experiences, we will take you on a journey to get to know these incredible young people who are using their platforms for social justice.

Among our highlighted activists are Wisdom Cole, national organizing manager for the NAACP Youth and College Division, Martese Johnson, speaker and activist and Milan Nicole Sherry, local activist and coordinator/outreach specialist at the Trans Equity Project.

We are kicking things off with our digital cover release, featuring stunning photography from JD Barnes, whose own journey as an activist involved using his camera lens to document protests around the country in cities like New York, Portland and Louisville. In the coming weeks, you will also learn more about Barnes and amazing Black photographers like him, bringing the message of Black activism to the world.

Stay tuned to Cassius and our pages for an exclusive look into the lives and careers of these dope activists. They’ve got next.

MORE: CASSIUS presents Young Black Icons