Zyahna Bryant is a student activist and community organizer studying at the University of Virginia, who works on issues of Racial Justice in Charlottesville, VA. She founded the Black Student Union at her high school and is a member of the Charlottesville Youth Council. At the age of 12, she organized her first demonstration, a rally for Justice for Trayvon Martin and other unarmed black lives lost to police violence.
In the Spring of 2015, Zyahna spoke as a panelist advocating for funding of Public education and grants alongside local organizers and Bernie Sanders at his budget Town Hall in Charlottesville. Later that fall, Zyahna created the Black Student Union and began serving as the chair where she is currently in her third year serving. In the Spring of 2016, Zyahna wrote the petition to the Charlottesville City Council calling for the removal of the Lee Statue and Renaming of the park formerly known as Lee Park.
In 2017, The Charlottesville City Council voted to remove the Statues. Zyahna continues to organize with local teens and youth leaders to create change around issues of race and inequity. Her primary focus is on the achievement gap and equal access for students of color.
In January of 2019, Zyahna published a book, a collection of poetry and essays titled, “Reclaim.” She currently serves as the youngest member of the inaugural Virginia African American Advisory Board where she was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam. She also serves as a member of President Jim Ryan’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships.
In November of 2019, Zyahna was named as one of Teen Vogue’s 21 under 21 Young People Changing the World.
Zyahna has been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker Magazine, CNN, and Vice News.
Awards and Recognitions
2018 Washington, DC Princeton Prize in Race Relations
2018 Student Stowe Prize from the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, for social justice writing with a tangible impact.
2018 Yale Bassett Award for Community Engagement
Zyahna was listed in Cville Weekly’s 2018 List of Powerful People
Follow Zy on Social Media:
Instagram – @zysaidso