Amandla Stenberg first won our hearts at 14 years old when she played Rue in The Hunger Games. Now, she is an exceptional woman who has been using her influence and platform to speak out against racism, gender equality and sexual violence and to encourage people to vote during the recent U.S. elections. Next month, Stenberg will be recognized for her activism with the Changemaker Award from women’s rights organization Equality Now.
The 20-year-old actress undoubtedly deserves the award. In October, she wrote a powerful open letter in Teen Vogue about her own experience with sexual assault. She concluded with, “It is not your fault. It is not your responsibility to figure this out by yourself. It is not your responsibility to sacrifice your comfort to gratify others. Assault can look like many different things. Consent is continual. You are not dirty. You are not stupid. You are not weak for needing help. You are not defined by this. You are not alone. You are loved. Cry if you need to. Breathe. Your breath and your body belong wholly to you.”
Stenberg has also been known for calling for more opportunities for people of color in Hollywood. She recently told Variety, “Me and Yara and Zendaya are perceived in the same way, I guess, because we are lighter-skinned black girls and we fill this interesting place of being accessible to Hollywood and accessible to white people in a way that darker-skinned girls are not afforded the same privilege.”
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I️ truly have no words. Just the utmost gratitude! Thank you @time for this unfathomable honor. Thank you to everyone who rallied together to make @thehateugivemovie. Thank you for so beautifully maintaining the collective intention to make something that could ground us in what makes us most human. Thank you to @angiethomas and @george_tillman for giving us the space within art we deserve and for trusting me with giving Starr her light! Thank you to all of you beautiful folks who support and trust me to be a conduit for our beliefs and use my platform to express who we truly are. Thank you for continually inspiring me and making me feel loved. This one’s because and for y’all.
Last month, Stenberg made the cover of TIME magazine and was deemed one of the leaders of this generation. She is set to receive her award at the Make Equality Reality Gala at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on December 3, presented by Gucci and Chime for Change.