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Charlene Carruthers Political Activist and Organizer

Charlene Carruthers, Political Activist and Organizer

Charlene A. Carruthers is a Black, queer feminist community organizer and writer with over 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work. She currently serves as the national director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), an activist member-led organization of Black 18-35 year olds dedicated to c...    

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Charlene A. Carruthers is a Black, queer feminist community organizer and writer with over 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work. She currently serves as the national director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), an activist member-led organization of Black 18-35 year olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people.

First politicized as an 18 year old while studying abroad in South Africa, her passion for developing young leaders to build capacity within marginalized communities has led her to work on immigrant rights, economic justice and civil rights campaigns nationwide.

With a focus on intersectional liberation, Charlene’s organizing capacities span across a broad range of topics and she currently serves as a board member of SisterSong, a reproductive justice organization that promotes solidarity among women of color.

She is an Arcus Leadership Fellow and Front Line Leadership Academy graduate who has led grassroots and digital strategy campaigns for national organizations including the Center for Community Change, the Women’s Media Center, ColorOfChange.org and National People’s Action, as well as being a member of a historic delegation of young activists in Palestine in 2015 to build solidarity between Black and Palestinian liberation movements.

Awarded the “Movement Builder Award” by the United States Students Association, Charlene is deeply committed to working with young organizers seeking to create a more loving and just world. She has facilitated and developed political trainings for organizations including the NAACP, the Center for Progressive Leadership, Young People For and Wellstone Action.

Charlene is the winner of the “New Organizing Institute 2015 Organizer of the Year Award” and has served as a featured speaker at various institutions including Wellesley College, Northwestern University and her alma mater Illinois Wesleyan University, where she earned a B.A. in History & International Studies. Charlene also received a Master of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.

Charlene was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago where she currently resides and continues to lead and partake in social justice movements. In her free time, she loves to cook and believes the best way to learn about people is through their food.

Charlene’s inspirations include a range of Black women, including Ella Baker, Cathy Cohen, and Barbara Ransby. Her work has been featured on many national outlets including Ebony Magazine, Feministing.com, USA Today and the Washington Post.


  • Charlene Carruthers Speaker | PDA Speakers

    GREAT 28: Charlene Carruthers is on a Mission to Change Chicago One Black Youth at a Time

Building on the Dream: Continuing a Black Radical Tradition in the Movement for Black Lives

#SayHerName: Stories and Strategies to End Mass Criminalization
On May 21, 2015, over 20 cities across the United States participated in the first National Day of Action to End Police Violence Against Black Women and Girls. These actions around the country centered on ending the mass criminalization of Black people by focusing on the most marginalized within our communities. This talk will explore how a Black queer feminist lens is applied to grassroots organizing and the role of intersectionality in building social movements today.

But, no one is showing up to our events!: Movement Building on Campus
Movements for social justice have always been strengthened by student activism and organizing. From the Civil Rights Movement to the current Movement for Black Lives, students are at the forefront of building power and serving as hubs for political education. However, this work isn't easy and folks don't always show up. This keynote, led by BYP100 National Director Charlene Carruthers, will focus on how students can organize on and off of campus, build effective campaigns and bring more of their friends into the work. Carruthers will share her experiences and lessons learned since she joined social justice movement work as a college student 12 years ago.

Towards a Black Queer Feminist Liberation
 
People over Property and Politics
 
Grassroots Organizing and Power Building 101

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  • Black Power

    Wednesday, August 16, 2017

    The office of Black Youth Project 100 is a few blocks from President Barack Obama’s private residence in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. The organization’s national director, Charlene Carruthers, like Obama in his younger activist days, is a Chicago community organizer. The similarities may stop there. Indeed, Carruthers has been loudly calling for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s longtime Chicago political ally who served as his White House chief of staff. Her complaint: Emanuel’s negligent leadership in the Chicago police shooting death of a black teenager in 2014.

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  • Carlow University
    Charlene is a dynamic engaging leader that made a charismatic connection to our diverse university community. Her passion for social justice was evident through her sophisticated presentation style that brought truth to the issues. She kept it real and on point. She modeled the critical need to think deeply about systemic change and act through coalition building. Her smile lit up the room, her presence was powerful and her work came from the heart.

    Salem State University
    Our time with Charlene was absolutely AMAZING! Her keynote address was extremely timely and inspiring. It was very clear that Charlene had prepared for our 2016 MLK Convocation, and truly did the legacy of Dr. King justice in how she articulated his legacy to the current movements for justice today. It is without reservation that I strongly recommend Charlene Carruthers to speak at your respective institution.

'African-American'
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