February 9, 2021
During Black History Month, TV One presents a series, Black History Month: Represent the Movement, that celebrates young activists who are changing the world.
Named one of Teen Vogue’s ’21 under 21 Young People Changing the World,’ Zyahna Bryant is a student activist and community organizer who works on racial justice issues in Charlottesville, VA. Zyahna is perhaps most widely known for writing the 2016 petition to the Charlottesville City Council, calling for removing the Lee statue and renaming of the park formerly known as Robert E. Lee Park. In 2017, the Charlottesville City Council voted to remove the statue.
Zyahna continues to organize with local teens and youth leaders to create change around issues of race and inequity. Her primary focus is on the achievement gap and equal access for students of color.
“I’m always doing the work whether it’s on the frontlines or within closed rooms,” Zyahna shared on Black History Month: Represent the Movement.
Part of her work includes advocating for funding of public education and grants alongside local organizers. “Education translates into literal power,” Zyahna said.
In addition to her activism work on education, Zyahna also focuses on immigration and poverty. “We won’t solve the issue [of poverty] until we get rid of the framework or the mindset of competition,” Zyahna continued.
In 2019, Zyahna published a book that includes a collection of poetry and essays titled, Reclaim. She currently serves as the youngest member of the inaugural Virginia African American Advisory Board, where Governor Ralph Northam appointed her. She also serves as a member of President Jim Ryan’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships.
Zyahna’s work has been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker Magazine, CNN, and Vice News.
Learn more about Zyahna Bryant and other young activists in our series Black History Month: Represent the Movement airing throughout Black History Month on TV One.