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Charlene Carruthers        

Writer, Filmmaker & Black Studies Scholar; Founder of BYP100

Charlene A. Carruthers (she/her) is a writer, filmmaker, community organizer, and Black Studies PhD Candidate at Northwestern University. A practitioner of telling more complete stories, her work interrogates historical conjunctures of Black freedom-making post-emancipation and decolonial revolution, Black governance, and Black feminist abolitionist geographies. She is a 2020 Marguerite Casey Presidential Freedom Scholar and Mellon Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her work spans more than 15 years of community organizing across racial, gender and economic justice movements. Carruthers wrote and directed The Funnel, a short film, which received the Queer Black Voices Award at the 35th Annual aGLIFF Prism Film Festival.

As the founding national director of BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100), she worked alongside hundreds of young Black activists to build a member-led organization dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. Her work has been covered in several publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Chicago Reader, The Nation, Ebony and Essence Magazines. She has appeared on CNN, Democracy Now!, BBC and MSNBC. The Chicago native has also written for theRoot.com, CRISIS Magazine, Teen Vogue, Truthout, Colorlines and the Boston Review. She is recognized as one of the top 10 most influential African Americans by 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.

A believer in telling more complete stories about the Black Radical Tradition, Carruthers is a highly sought after speaker at various institutions including Wellesley College, Shaw University, Princeton University, Northwestern University and her alma mater Illinois Wesleyan University. She is author of the bestselling book, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.

Speech Topics


So Much Is Possible: A Meditation on Black Feminism, Abolition and Love

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

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