Navigating The Future

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Black Advocacy and Activism
Published By: AAUL
Date: March 11, 2024

The Run Down

The Austin Area Urban League hosted an engaging panel discussion on the next phase of activism and advocacy, diving into the crucial question of “Who and What is the future of Black Advocacy and Activism?” This enlightening event, held in collaboration with Black Future House, featured a distinguished panel of speakers and was moderated by Quincy Dunlap, the CEO & President of the Austin Area Urban League.

The Panel

The panel discussion, held on March 9, 2024 during South by Southwest (SXSW), centered around the changing dynamics of activism and advocacy, particularly addressing the stark differences between historical movements like the Civil Rights era and the present day. The conversation aimed to explore the unique approaches taken by today’s emerging leaders compared to those in past decades.

Panel Speakers

  • Tilar Harris-Young: 10th Grade High School Student
  • Tay Robinson: 11th Grade High School Student
  • Emmanuel Dunlap: Texas State University Student
  • Lauryn Moore: Jackson State University Student
  • Tyreonta “Tay” Norman: Austin Area Urban League, Education Policy Analyst
  • Destiny Brown: AAUL Young Professionals President
  • Ray Shackleford: Houston Area Urban League
  • Jerika Richardson: National Urban League, Senior Vice President for Equitable Justice & Strategic Initiatives
  • Anthony Collier: National Urban League, Director of Criminal Justice
  • Dr. Courtney Robinson: Excellence and Advancement Foundation, Founder and CEO; Huston-Tillotson University, Dean of Student Affairs


The panelists shared their perspectives on various questions, shedding light on the current state of advocacy in their communities and the challenges faced by young leaders. Dr. Courtney Robinson emphasized the importance of youth development programs, such as the Activist Leadership Camp and the Spark Change Project hosted by her nonprofit, Excellence and Advancement Foundation, in preparing young people to be community- engaged leaders.

One of the critical points discussed was the role of legacy leaders in guiding and supporting the next generation. Destiny Brown stressed the need for intergenerational collaboration, dispelling the notion that young professionals lack the capability to advocate effectively. The importance of mentorship, transparent sharing of personal journeys, and the challenge of breaking through the “Imposter Syndrome” were highlighted by Ray Shackleford.

The conversation also touched on the tools, resources, and strategies necessary for sustainable activism. The younger panelists emphasized the significance of social media and provided valuable insights into making advocacy messages concise and interactive to capture the attention of today’s generation.

As the discussion unfolded, the importance of adapting to new communication tools became evident. Tilar Harris straightforwardly suggested seeking guidance from the younger generation, recognizing their familiarity with platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

The panel underscored the need for continued collaboration, mentorship, and adaptation to contemporary communication methods to ensure the effectiveness of advocacy efforts. The Austin Area Urban League encourages everyone to watch the full video to gain a deeper understanding of the insights shared during this thought-provoking panel discussion.

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