Meet The Homegirl: Girl Up Teen Advisor & Author of Young Revolutionary
by Ava Marshall
When activists of the past like Angela Davis and Mary Hamilton were blazing trails for future black girls to take control of their own destinies, they had Chanice Lee in mind.
The thing is, Chanice isn’t just taking the reins--she bringing girls like her with her and granting them the space to reclaim their time. Maxine Waters would be proud.
The sixteen-year-old activist from Fort Lauderdale, Florida knows that she holds the passion and drive to make a wave in the currents of our world. Chanice is armed with certainty and a self-awareness that allows her to walk the walk on creating spaces for young revolutionaries everywhere--especially young black girls. Her mission to recolor bleak spaces led her create The Melanin Diary. As editor-in-chief of The Melanin Diary, Chanice leads “the #1 online global platform for Social justice, History, Politics, and more, written entirely from the Black teen’s perspective.”
Chanice can't quite define the inner voice within her that was geared towards advocating. She saw the needs of her community, and simply saw it as the right thing to do. This drove her to join Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation that's aimed towards empowering girls all over the world. Chanice served as a Girl Up Teen Advisor in the 2017-2018 term, where she was surrounded by girl activists alike and different from her, all oriented towards shifting the realms of the status quo.
This encouraging and engaging environment is exactly the space that Chanice seeks to see more of. A world where teenagers are aware of not only the power, but the reach that their voices can have. This is exactly what inspired her book, Young Revolutionary: A Teen's Guide to Activism. Chanice is tired of the notion that teens, particularly black youth, have to squeeze and negotiate their way to have a seat at the table. She says: “If you want to create change, don’t spend your time demanding things of others when you can just do it yourself!”
There is no reason to wiggle to get a mic at an outdated table, when you can build your own with megaphones for you and all your peers. Which is what writes about in her novel, to encourage her peers through granting them resources. She embodies the mantra that the youth are indeed the future, but are also the present as well.
“I am on a mission to change the world,” says the author and activist. To Lee, this mission includes re-examining the realms of feminism. As a black girl, the intersections of race and gender are often ignored in the traditional spaces of feminism. This led the blogger and speaker to lean towards the ideologies of the legendary Audre Lorde, defining herself as more of a Womanist and Black Feminist, since her struggles on both fronts are inseparable. Blackness and girlhood are not pieces of identity that can be shoved into individual boxes because it is convenient--they are parts of being a black girl, and their interconnectedness is powerful.
Chanice Lee puts action behind her words, making her a true carpenter in a world whose presets include tables that battle and bombard the undermined and overlooked. To Chanice, young people have the power to build their own tables with however many chairs they feel necessary. With the drive and passion exhibited by this game-changer, the young people will win.