Essence has been at the forefront when it comes to honoring women who have made an impact on the community, but this time they're taking their celebration of female activists up a notch.
The magazine launched its first-ever "Woke 100" list today, which honors the top 100 women activists and social influencers from around the country. The list will appear in the May 2017 issue, with one cover spotlighting 12 of the women on the list who have used their platforms to "battle injustice and infractions to civil rights, dignity and basic humanity."
Shonda Rhimes, political commentator Angela Rye, and veteran journalist Joy-Ann Reid will be featured on the cover, along with Women's March co-chairs Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez, Women's March organizer Janaye Ingram, Circle of Mothers founder Sybrina Fulton, author/blogger Luvvie Ajayi social activist April Reign, #BlackLivesMatter cofounder Opal Tometi, and educator/activist Brittany Packnett.
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"We are beyond proud to announce our first ever Woke 100 list and to summon a circle of women who are shaping the narrative of today's social and political climate," Essence editor-in-chief Vanessa De Luca said in a statement. "As we kick off the conversation of modern activism in our May issue, the 2017 Essence Festival's 'Woke Wonderland' theme will act as the intersection of passion and purpose—bridging the gap between this generation's most prominent voices in leadership and those who've laid the groundwork before them."
The Woke 100 will also be celebrated during this year's Essence Festival, which will officially be themed "Woke Wonderland." Ava DuVernay and activist Patrisse Cullors will also receive official Woke Awards for their "commitment to advancing representation and raising community issues in their fields."
The May issue of Essence hits newsstands Friday.