2019 Fellow

Charlene Carruthers

Charlene Carruthers is a strategist, author and a leading organizer in today’s Black liberation movement.  As the founding national director of BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100), she has worked alongside hundreds of young Black activists to build a member-led organization of 18-35 year olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people.

A believer in telling more complete stories about the Black Radical Tradition, Charlene provides critical analysis, political education and leadership development training for activists across the globe. She was recognized as one of the top 10 most influential African Americans in The Root 100, one of Ebony Magazine’s “Woke 100” an Emerging Power Player in Chicago Magazine and is the 2017 recipient of the YWCA’s Dr. Dorothy I. Height Award.

Major media outlets from BBC and MSNBC to legacy Black media institutions including Ebony and Essence Magazines have highlighted her work and perspective on current events and issues impacting marginalized communities.

Charlene is author of the bestselling book, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.

Project Description

The Chicago Center for Leadership and Transformation (CCLT) pilot project will build a locally rooted and nationally connected learning community for political education, grassroots organizing, language and strategic communications capacity building. Using a strengths-based field assessment, we will launch an online learning community, host local learning circles and a Spanish language learning intensive program in our first year.

Given Chicago’s rich historical and contemporary movement building, the CCLT will bring together Chicago-based community organizers and activists with their peers across the nation and globe. Chicago is on the cutting edge of localized movement building that is connected to national and international movements. The city is home to organizations and institutions who have driven concrete change including reparations for police torture victims and ousting prosecutors who consistently abuse power and resources.

The CCLT will build on the work of existing institutions and increase our overall capacity to develop the leadership our movements need to transform issues of racial, gender and economic justice.