Black Lives Matter | Voices of Hope and Change

These 21st century heroes are moving America forward in racial justice and equality.

Activists for Racial Justice
Credit: MY HERO

"To understand why, amid a global health crisis, Black People in America are taking to the streets to protest racism, another disease that cavalierly kills Young Black Boys and Young Black Girls, you must first understand the history of Black People in this country. A history that is as long as the Mississippi River—the artery of America’s slave trade. In 1776, America was founded on the idea that “All Men are Created Equal.” But Blacks were not included—for they were slaves, not men. It was not until 1865 that America outlawed slavery with the 13th Amendment. That was almost 155 years ago.

"If America is serious about race relations, she must first understand that there is no difference between the treatment of Blacks 150 years ago and the treatments of Blacks today. Today, thanks to cellphones and social media creating citizen journalists, we see the horrors that Blacks face every day. People are outraged at the sheer disregard for Black lives, but this isn’t new. America's disregard for Black lives has existed for as long as she has existed. It’s time for America to have an honest conversation with her past. Only then can we truly take another step towards equality."

Mohamed Sidibay
J.D. Candidate 2021
UNESCO Advisor
Global Partnership for Education -Advisor
MY HERO - Global Outreach

Mohamed Sidibay - Teaching Peace Video

Mohamed Sidibay: Teaching Peace- video

Trey Carlisle won the Emerging Artist Award at MY HERO's International Film Festival in 2016 for his film Us and Us... about genocide in Cambodia. His spoken word piece "History Will Be Repeated" encourages every one of us to stand up for equality and social justice. 

History will be Repeated

Produced by:Trey Carlisle

Watch filmmaker/spoken word artist Trey Carlisle's performance of "History Will Be Repeated," a poem promoting tolerance.

Featured Art by MY HERO Gallery Director Giselle Villatoro

Breonna Taylor

By: Giselle Villatoro

Breonna Taylor was killed by the police while asleep during a raid for which there was no warrant. 

George Floyd

By: Giselle Villatoro

George Floyd was killed when a white police officer put his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes while Floyd and onlookers shouted that he could not breathe. 

Ahmaud Arbery

By: Giselle Villatoro

The Black Lives Matter movement honors Ahmaud Arbery and fights for injustices against the black community at the hands of "citizen policing."

MY HERO Suggested Video

"How a Hashtag Defined a Movement" (2016) by EmergingUS

The founders of #BlackLivesMatter on how it all began.

Featured Hero | Bryan Stevenson

Trey Carlisle writes about his hero, Attorney Bryan Stevenson (below). Stevenson leads the nation toward prison reform and racial equality through representing people of color who have received unjust treatment in the U.S. criminal justice system. 


The film on right discusses the Equal Justice Initiative, which has won relief for hundreds of wrongfully convicted people, successfully argued before the Supreme Court to end life-without-parole sentences for children, challenged excessive sentencing, and more. 

Bryan Stevenson

By: Arthur (Trey) Carlisle
Bryan Stevenson has been recognized across the globe for the work that he has done to address poverty and racial inequality.

The Equal Justice Initiative

Gabriel Diamond
Bryan Stevenson and Equal Justice Initiative litigate cases for the unjustly imprisoned and work to reform the justice system.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

By: Bryan Stevenson

Read Bryan Stevenson's bestselling book about representing Walter McMillian, a black man sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman, which he didn't commit.

Tell us about your hero
Credit: MH


The Black National Anthem

Produced by:P-Gates Production

Committed's version of the "Black National Anthem" as they commemorate Black History Month.

Featured Hero | John Lewis

John Lewis (1940-2020) was a U.S. Congressman and civil rights leader in Georgia who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The following story and films highlight his important work.

John Lewis

By: Kathy Crockett, MY HERO
John Lewis has worked for civil rights for all for over 40 years.


Produced by:Anson Schloat and John G. Young

A film about John Lewis on citizenship and character: "To be a good citizen is to obey the rules...the laws. Unless those laws conflict with your conscience."

Get in the Way [Trailer]

Produced by:Dir. Kathleen Dowdey

In 1965, the historic Selma March known as Bloody Sunday was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. As a student, John Lewis co-led hundreds of peaceful marchers seeking voting rights for African Americans in the South.

Young Heroes

Gabrielle Gorman is a Television and Film major at UCLA. She made the following films as a high school student and is known for her poetic approach. Gabrielle was a student honoree at the 2016 MY HERO International Film Festival for her film Dear America. The film was made in response to the shooting of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri.  In 2014, she was a finalist for her film Bombingham. It honors the three young girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, by the KKK in 1963.

DEAR AMERICA - student honoree

Produced by:Gabrielle Gorman
An exploration of what it means to be a Black American.


Produced by:Gabrielle Gorman

An expressionistic account of the bombing of the 17th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Amandla Stenberg

By: Cynthia Wang

Amandla Stenberg, a mixed race actress, is committed to playing only strong characters, and passes over roles she feels should be reserved for darker-skinned actresses, in her quest to fight colorism.

Words Have Power

Produced by:Lynne Cherry

10-year-old Jaysa speaks out against the asthma-inducing power plants in her town, citing environmental racism. Her words help get the last power plant shut down. 

MY HERO Contests
Credit: MH


Art as activism inspires regular people to "do." We need art that inspires and informs us. 

Credit: Saint George
Credit: Saint George
George Floyd
Credit: Saint George
Credit: Saint George
Credit: Saint George
Credit: Saint George

Protect Kids Not Guns by Micah Bazant/ Amplifier

By: Micah Bazant
Protest Art created for March for Our Lives sponsored by The Amplifier Foundation

Barack Obama- Martin Luther King Jr. by Ben Heine

By: Ben Heine from Belgium

Ben Heine pays homage to great African-American civil rights heroes Martin Luther King and Barack Obama.

Celebrating We the Future-Amanda Gorman by Kate Deciccio

By: Kate Deciccio

Amanda Gorman was named the 2015 National Youth Poet Laureate. She is a community leader and a public speaker. 

Never Again by Chanelle Librada Reyes /Amplifier

By: Chanelle Librada-Reyes
In partnership with Adobe Project 1324, Amplifier hosted an open call for youth art to be carried through the streets for march for our lives.

Tyra Hemans

By: Mariam Tehari
Tyra Hemans, advocate for The March For Our Lives

Act! Fear Has No Place by Koy Suntichotinun

By: Koy Suntichotinun

Protest art created for the March for Our Lives sponsored by the Amplifier Foundation

Robert Shetterly - Americans Who Tell the Truth series

Shirley Chisholm

By: Robert Shetterly
"Prejudice and hatred built the nation’s slums, maintains them and profits by them…. we are exposed as hypocrites when we talk about making people free."

Lateefah Simon

By: Robert Shetterly

Working for incarcerated youth, Lateefah Simon is a hero for children's rights and rehabilitation.

John Lewis

By: Robert Shetterly
Civil Rights hero John Lewis as painted by Robert Shetterly

Recommended Reading

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

By: Vashti Harrison

This New York Times bestseller introduces readers of all ages to 40 women who changed the world. 

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History

By: Vashti Harrison

Vashti Harrison shines a bold, joyous light on black men through history in this #1 New York Times bestseller.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

By: Bryan Stevenson

An true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By: Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community—and all of us—to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

How can you stand up for racial justice?

The nonprofit From Privilege to Progress "calls on all Americans to join on the path to antiracism by learning, speaking up in their everyday lives and amplifying the voices of people of color on social media."

Related Pages

Musicians and The Civil Rights Movement

Features musicians who gave voice to the American Civil Rights Movements in the 1960s through their music.

Blood and Soil Excerpt

Sandi Bachom
Special Hero Sandi Bachom covered the events that took place in Charlottesville. Sandi is a Special Hero recipient at the 2017 MY HERO Film Festival.

Barack Hussein Obama II

By: Karam Alshaikh

President Barack Obama announced twenty-three executive orders concerning gun control after the Newton shootings.

External Links

Our Curators


Hero Stories curated by MY HERO General Editor and Story Director Shannon Luders-Manuel. 


Artwork curated by MY HERO Arts Education and Gallery director Giselle Villatoro. 


Short films curated by MY HERO International Film Festival director Wendy Milette

Organizer created on 5/30/2020 9:08:49 PM by Shannon Luders-Manuel

Last edited 7/25/2020 7:12:36 AM by Jerrilyn Jacobs