- Age: 25
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Student and youth organizers are often mislabeled as "too radical," but Angela Davis’ words remind us that "radical simply means grasping things at the root." Students and young people are often best placed to grasp at the root of structural inequality in all its forms. Together, we can reimagine a better future.
- Larissa Kennedy
Larissa Kennedy is a Black British activist born and raised in London, UK with heritage in Barbados, Jamaica, and St. Vincent. Between 2020 and 2022, Larissa served as the 61st President of the National Union of Students representing 7 million students across FE and HE in the UK. Currently, Larissa is studying in Santiago, Chile whilst working as a political commentator in the press, and contributing editor at Shado Mag, an online and print magazine that builds community among artists, activists and journalists united in the fight for social justice. Furthermore, Larissa is on the board at SOS-UK: Students Organising for Sustainability, a student-led education organisation focusing on sustainability and climate justice.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
Since I was little, I have been infuriated by injustice, but as a student, I gained the language and the tools I needed to turn that anger into action. Black feminism and gender justice are necessitated by seeing the impacts of structural oppression on my community. My pursuit for gender justice, racial justice, economic justice and climate justice stems from my belief that we can reimagine a far better world.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
As a local student activist, I was one of the key organisers among the anti-sexist and anti-racist movements fighting sexual violence at my university. Co-leading my Students’ Union’s response: we successfully lobbied for an independent review of the University’s disciplinary system, a permanent contract for an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor, halving waiting times for mental health services, and securing a public apology for survivors. In the national student movement, under my leadership NUS campaigned alongside grassroots student groups to secure a government pledge to end the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements to silence complainants of sexual violence in UK universities. I also co-led a student strike, bringing together students from across the nations of the UK to withdraw consent from a sexist, racist, classist education system and to commit to a radical reimagination of education. I consider igniting others’ commitment to dreaming a huge win, because the ripple effects of this are limitless.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
If I'm not at a protest, writing policy, or speaking to people about a campaign, you can usually find me dancing to soca, dancehall, or reggae.
- English (Advanced/Native)
- French (Intermediate)
- Spanish (Advanced)