Bianca Valenti wanted to be a pro surfer since she was 8 years old, and nearly gave up on her dreams forever when she faced gender inequality in the sport. When she discovered big wave surfing, a sport where women were often excluded from competitions, she took her fight to the California Coastal Commission and the World Surf League, landing victories for gender equity that will have ripples throughout the sporting world.
Rapper Mistah F.A.B. grew up in Oakland, California, in the 1980s during the crack epidemic, with both parents battling drug addiction. He had to grow up quickly, and learned to cope and express himself through poetry and music. As his rap career began to take off, F.A.B. made it a point to give back to the next generation of kids growing up in the same community.
Someone called the police on him for suspected armed robbery. The reality? He was moving into his New York City apartment.
Role: Video Producer & Editor.
Notes: First HuffPost silent video, to emulate Nyle’s experience with media.
Actor and model Nyle DiMarco is Deaf. He doesn’t understand the concept of silence — it’s just his default mode. DiMarco went on to win “America’s Next Top Model” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Now, he uses his platform to help Deaf children who don’t have the same access to sign language and community that he did as a child.
In India, the caste system is an imposed social hierarchy that pre-determines your occupation by birth.
The lowest caste are the untouchables. They work the worst and dirtiest jobs. At 26 years old, Sujatha left India for the United States. She realized that despite being free of caste, the mental toll left her feeling inferior for years.
Growing up Indian-American and gender nonconforming, @alokvaid-menon worried they would be disowned. That was until they learned about India’s long tradition of transfeminism which helped them find a way to make their gender and racial identities live harmoniously.
Brace Belden is a socialist. He embraced leftist politics as a teen during his punk rock days. Later he volunteered for six months in Syria with the Kurdish freedom movement where he helped fight ISIS. Now his activism back home has led to the unionization one of the most popular beer brands in the US. The running theme throughout his life? Solidarity for the working class.
Azim Khamisa’s son, Tariq, was murdered in 1995 at the age of 20. His killer was Tony Hicks, a 14 year-old boy who was ordered to pull the trigger by an older gang member. After the initial shock subsided, Azim realized that there are victims on both sides of the gun. Together with Tony’s grandfather, Ples Felix, Azim founded the Tariq Khamisa Foundation with the mission of preventing youth gun violence.
Meet Nic and Carla, a married couple who travel the country in their tractor trailer. Out on the road, Nic and Carla often face discrimination, so they created their own YouTube channel to share their experiences with the world.
Veteran Tucker Smallwood was wounded during the Vietnam War and almost died. He returned home, where he created a new life and found success as an actor. But years later, when he experienced a triggering event, he realized he was depressed and was diagnosed with PTSD. This is an all-too-common story for veterans, and Smallwood is hoping to raise awareness for other veterans who haven’t yet sought out help.
Jackson Bird identifies as transgender, and also happens to be YouTube personality. He shares his story publicly, so he can be the LGBTQ role model that he always needed when he was growing up. But being open and public on the internet doesn’t mean that he wants to be outed in his personal life too. Here’s how Bird navigates these two worlds, while staying true to himself and advocating for the trans community.
Kairan Quazi attends 4th grade in the morning and college classes in the afternoon. When Kairan Quazi was only in 3rd grade, an IQ test revealed he was above the 99.9th percentile for IQ. But what might be surprising is that his Emotional Intelligence (EQ) was also tested to be surprisingly high. Now, Kairan wants us to tell us what we get wrong about gifted kids.
HuffPost journalist Wendy Lu was born with vocal cord paralysis and has always lived with a tracheostomy tube. While Wendy has used her voice to advocate for people with disabilities, she’s also mindful that the responsibility to champion the disability community rests on everyone’s shoulders.