10 black women you should know

Here are 10 black women who are leading the struggle for change on many of the issues affecting our community today.

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Every social movement in history has involved great women striving so that justice and equality may be achieved. Here are 10 black women who are leading the struggle for change on many of the issues affecting our community today.

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LeAnna M. Washington (right) is a Pennsylvania State Senator and domestic violence survivor. On Oct. 24, she will host her second walk in Philadelphia to raise money for the hotlines in the area that direct women in need to crises support services.(Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania State Senate)

Margaret Prescod (left) founded the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Killers in the mid-1980s after dozens of women were found dead in alleyways, parks and dumpsters in Los Angeles. The police believed the killings were the work of one man, dubbed the Southside Slayer at the time. The Coalition became inactive in the early 1990s, but Prescod restarted it in August 2008, when news broke that the “Grim Sleeper” had struck again. (Photo courtesy Global Women’s Strike)

LaDonna Redmond (not pictured) is a food security activist working on Chicago’s west side. She is the President and CEO of The Institute for Community Resource Development (ICRD). Redmond recently opened Graffiti and Grub, a grocery store and venue focusing on supplying the community with sustainable, organic, and locally-grown food.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins (right) took over as

CEO of Green for All in March when Van Jones left the position to work for the Obama administration. Green for All is the nation’s leading organization working to bring environmental justice to communities of color. So far under her tenure, Ellis-Lamkins has lobbied for two significant improvements to the House version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act: securing funding for job training, and guaranteeing broad access to clean energy jobs. (Photo © 2009 Green for All)

Clementina Chéry (left) founded the Boston-based Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in 1994 following the loss of her 15-year-old son, Louis D. Brown, to gang violence. The organization’s main objective is the same today as it was then – connecting families that have been victimized by violence with one another, in order to help them manage the emotional toll. Every year the Institute hosts a Mother’s Day Walk for Peace, an event that brings hundreds of activists together each year to stand up against violence in the city. (personal photo)

Gina McCauley (not pictured) is a Texas lawyer and blogger behind the popular blog What About our Daughters. Since starting her blog three years ago, she has rallied together a new generation of black feminists who have taken to digital activism against misogynist programming and music videos shown on BET. McCauley is also the founder of Blogging While Brown, an annual conference that helps to empower black bloggers both online and offline.

Rev. Irene Monroe (left) is an openly lesbian minister based in Cambridge, MA, and the coordinator of the African-American Roundtable of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry ”(CLGS)”:http://www.clgs.org/ at the Pacific School of Religion. As a syndicated columnist and Ford Fellow, Rev. Monroe advocates on behalf of LGBT African-Americans as they fight for acceptance in the black community. (Photo courtesy of irenemonroe.com)

Carolyn Thomas (right) is the co-founder of God’s Gang, a grassroots, non-profitorganization dedicated to supporting and strengthening the residents on Chicago’s south side. The organization teaches urban agricultural techniques and promotes food security, economic self-sufficiency, and positive youth development. (Photo – Talia Whyte)

Majora Carter (not pictured) is an environmental justice activist and economic consultant from the South Bronx. Carter founded the non-profit environmental justice organization Sustainable South Bronx.

Marvelyn Brown (right) is a former model, author and AIDS activist whose autobiographical book, “The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive”:http://marvelynbrown.blogspot.com/, tells her story of being a young heterosexual women who contracted HIV as a teenager. Her public service announcement for Think MTV an Emmy Award. Brown continues to write and has dedicated her life to HIV/AIDS awareness.
(AP Photo/The Clarion-Ledger, Greg Jenson)

Sharon Lettman (left) recently became the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading civil rights organization for LGBT African-Americans. Lettman has a long career working on behalf of people of color, gays and lesbians and other underserved communities. She is the first heterosexual leader of the organization.
(Photo courtesy of the National Black Justice Coalition)

Read more about ‘A Woman’s Nation’ with Guest Editor Maria Shriver on msnbc.com.