Young people are paving the way to a better future, one community initiative at a time.
Meet the 2023 McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Change Leaders. These enterprising young Black leaders are making a positive impact on their communities through initiatives focused on education, entrepreneurship, mental health and more.
With the help of Keke Palmer, McDonald’s USA is amplifying the work of these Change Leaders, granting each $20,000 to fund their community-driven ventures. “This year, we are collectively giving $200,000 to these kids out here doing incredible things. And that’s just what I want to be a part of,” Palmer said in a HelloBeautiful exclusive interview.
Whether these Change Leaders are promoting youth mental health care or providing financial literacy education, their collective impact is to make systemic change by lifting up and enriching their respective communities.
Founder of Financial Revolutionn
Brooklyn-born Aaliyah Duah is a 20-year-old business management major at Virginia State University. She founded Financial Revolutionn, a platform that provides financial literacy education to help Black communities build generational wealth.
Founder of Aaliyah Beauty Bar
In 2022, 21-year-old Aaliyah Alicia Thompson made history as one of the first autistic women to own her business, Aaliyah Beauty Bar. Whether it’s business or advocacy work, she is committed to challenging the perception of what’s possible for people with autism.
Founder and Director of The Accountability Initiative
Twenty-one-year-old activist and organizer Andrew Ankamah, Jr. is the founder and director of The Accountability Initiative, an organization dedicated to advocating for safer communities and helping underrepresented communities seeking solutions. He also serves as a Philadelphia Youth Commissioner, where he elevates the voices of young people in policymaking.
Founder of Justice for Black Girls
Brianna Baker is a 28-year-old magna cum laude graduate of Spelman College and Columbia University. The Richmond, VA native is the founder of Justice for Black Girls, an organization educating young women around social justice, student activism and policy work.
Founder of Teen Care Network
Dorian Hollingsworth, Jr., 21, of Norfolk, VA, is the founder and executive director of Teen Care Network, a non-profit that provides teens with free mental health resources and works to normalize mental health conversations in communities of color.
Co-founder of @PsychMe.Out
Armed with a doctorate in clinical psychology, Dr. Garrick I. Beauliere, 28, co-founded the @PsychMe.Out platform to provide education to the Black community and remove stereotypes about mental health.
Film student at Howard University
Hope Bryant, a film student at Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications, uses storytelling to fight racial disparities and stereotypes in film and culture.
Spelman College Scholar
Born and raised in South LA, Kamarie Brown is a 20-year-old student at Spelman College with a passion for ensuring education works for all communities and all students. Kamarie’s commitment to amplifying student voices in her community led to her election, at 17, to the student seat on the Los Angeles County School board, the second largest school district in the nation.
Co-founder of First Generation Gems
Fueled by her own struggles as a first-generation college student, 22-year-old Kemia Bridgewater, a pre-law student at Hampton University, co-founded the non-profit First Generation Gems to mentor and empower other first-generation college students.
Author of My Roots are Rich
Nyla Choates, a 20-year-old sophomore at Spelman College, developed a passion for Black history at a young age. She wrote and published the children’s book, My Roots Are Rich, to help Black children embrace their history, and founded a non-profit dedicated to fighting systemic racism in education.