A healthy democracy can feel just out of reach — but it is possible to imagine it. And necessary to create it. In celebration of Black History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on Black leaders and organizations who are doing just that.

They see an America to be created in which we are connected and not isolated, stewards and not spectators. In which zero-sum mindsets give way to common purpose. In which racial justice is understood not just as the demands of people of color but the liberation of everyone.

In the list below, you’ll find inspiration and resources from Black leaders and organizations who are working to make our nation’s ideals real, for everyone. Read on to learn how they’re contributing to a culture of belonging, closing the racial divide, and restoring faith in our democracy and each other. Let these examples bolster your commitment to practicing citizenship, building power, and rebuilding civic faith.

Alicia Garza

Meet Alicia Garza, Principal of Black Futures Lab and Co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement (BLM). Although most known for her involvement in BLM, Garza has years of experience as a mobilizer for creating positive change and is an expert in building civic power. Since then, she’s joined the Black Futures Lab to help transform Black communities into constituencies that change the way power operates — locally, statewide and nationally.

Garza participated in a panel discussion alongside our CEO and Co-founder, Eric Liu, to share insights and lessons learned from catalyzing cultural change in communities throughout the country. If you’re interested in learning how to activate your power to build movements and inspire the next generation of civic catalysts, order a copy of her book The Purpose of Power, which includes a foreword by Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change.

Trabian ShortersHead shot of Trabian Shorters

How can we shape culture by seeing each other’s assets rather than deficits?  Trabian Shorters shows us how. He is a social entrepreneur and catalyst known for his development of a framework called Asset-Framing®. Shorters is leading a movement across the country to challenge narratives, reduce stigmas, and “define communities by their aspirations and contributions, rather than their challenges and deficits.”

Through BMe Community, a nonprofit social impact network, Trabian Shorters has equipped over 400 black leaders and organizations with the tools needed to “build equity without stigma.” As a social entrepreneur, executive coach, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author, he’s shifting perspectives on how we see and treat one another.

Explore how you or your organization can use Asset-Framing as a way to shape the narratives in your community.

Liberation VenturesLiberation Ventures logo

Because the promise of America has yet to be realized, Liberation Ventures is working to catalyze a culture of repair and progress. They write, “We have to start at the root: the pain and devastation of chattel slavery, and the legacy of exploitation and devaluation that Black folks continue to face today. There is no America without Black resilience; there is no repair without Black healing. And when Black people thrive, America thrives.”

This vision for a mass, multiracial democracy that works for everyone provides crucial energy and leadership. From moving money to building narrative power to expanding local civic capacity, Liberation Ventures is paving the way to thriving communities and democracy. Learn more about their vision for our nation.

Amanda GormanHead shot of Amanda Gorman headshot

Introduced to the world as the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, Amanda Gorman is an award-winning writer and Founder of the non-profit, One Pen One Page. Since being named the first National Youth Poet Laureate, Estée Lauder’s first-ever Global Changemaker, and most recent performance at Mayor Karen Bass’ inauguration, Gorman is continuing to use literacy as a means to catalyze change by serving on nonprofit leadership boards and through her literary works.

She’s most known for her poem, “The Hill We Climb” — recited during President Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony in 2021. In the poem, Gorman examined America’s history and spoke about the desire to rebuild and heal our nation. She, too, is providing a new way for propelling our path forward as a nation.

And every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.

When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid.

The new dawn balloons as we free it.

For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it. 


Read the poem in full and perhaps recite it as civic scripture at an upcoming Civic Saturday.

Texas Black Action FundTexas Black Action Fund Logo

This one is for Texans. 

The Texas Black Action Fund helps leaders and organizations build capacity and lasting change. With a focus on assisting smaller, Black-led, Texas-based organizations, the Fund identifies local areas for grassroot efforts, helps fulfill funding needs, establishes cross-regional partnerships, and more.  Powered by Tides Advocacy, they’re building civic infrastructure that’s facilitating greater participation and citizenship across the state.

If you’re interested in joining the movement, get involved.

What other individuals and organizations would you add to this list? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or Instagram.