All year long, NBC4 is profiling local artists, activists and trailblazers making a difference and inspiring change in the African American community.
NBC4's Jummy Olabanji spoke to the deputy director of the U.S. Mint, Ventris C. Gibson. She's the first African American to lead the Mint, the bureau of the Department of Treasury responsible for producing U.S. coins.
Gibson is also leading the way to roll out quarters that honor trailblazing women like Maya Angelou.
We also spoke to a group of young activists, Concerned Citizens DC, inspired by past leaders but motivated to create change in their own, unique ways.
NBC4's Eun Yang spoke to award-winning, Afro-Latino chef Angel Barreto, the executive chef at Korean restaurant Anju. Barreto has won many awards, such as Food & Wine Best New Chef. He’s also a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Emerging Chef award.
Award-winning school librarian Christopher Stewart —who is among the 7% of librarians who are Black, in a field that is nearly 87% white — spoke about why his library is not only a place for students to read books and study but a sanctuary to dream big and feel loved.
Photographer and Howard University professor Lauren Sweet was inspired by Black women and royalty to create her new photo series, "Black Queen Mother." Alexandria's first African-American poet laureate, KaNikki Jakarta, also shares the inspiration behind her powerful, written words.
Looking ahead to the next generation, a 10-year-old rapper, Fly Zyah, made the Kennedy Center's "Next 50." This young lyricist tells NBC4's Shawn Yancy the change she wishes to see in D.C. and the world.