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Tomorrow's Leaders: 11 Faces to Watch

All under age 50, these young African American activists are carrying the torch for change

Cory Booker, 44

En español | As mayor of Newark, N.J., Booker showed his accessibility by living in public housing and becoming a Twitter fanatic. He once even rescued a neighbor from her burning house. Booker won a special election to the U.S. Senate in 2013, and this year will run for a full term.

Andy Mills/Star Ledger/Corbis

Charlene Carruthers, 28

Carruthers' passion is mentoring young activists to become leaders who fight for the rights of voters, workers and immigrants and against unequal treatment of women. According to her Twitter profile, she's "living at the intersection of blackness + womanhood + discovery."

Arcus Foundation

Majora Carter, 47

Growing up in New York, Carter saw her South Bronx neighborhood used as a dumping ground. So she started efforts to carve out public parks and bring environmental jobs to the area, and has exported the lessons she learned at home to communities around the world.

Alamy

Rosa Clemente, 41

A community organizer and feminist, Clemente speaks out against rap lyrics that glorify violence against women. In a recent Google Hangout, the 2008 Green Party vice presidential candidate said: "We need brothers … to stand up against rape culture."

Alamy

Ta-Nehisi Coates, 38

The national correspondent and blogger dives into culture, politics and social issues for The Atlantic. His essay "Fear of a Black President" considered Barack Obama's multiracial heritage from multiple angles. "Equality that requires blacks to be twice as good," he wrote, "is not equality — it's a double standard."

MCT/Newscom

Van Jones, 45

After making his mark as a young human rights activist focused on police brutality, Jones became an advocate for "green-collar jobs," which provide a living wage, improve the environment and spur development. Today he cohosts CNN's Crossfire.

Bloomberg/Getty Images

Mia Love, 38

The former mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, and current candidate for the U.S. Congress celebrated MLK's birthday with this thought: "Dr. King wanted freedom, and I don't believe he ever intended for any of us, whether black, white, or any other color or group, to receive special status in society."

CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Thione Niang, 36

Born in Senegal and now living in the United States, Niang founded the Give1Project to train young leaders around the world how to tackle poverty and underdevelopment. "No child should have to die because of lack of clean drinking water," he told Congress in 2010.

Abaca/Newscom

T.W. Shannon, 35

The speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and candidate for the U.S. Senate is also a member of the Chickasaw Nation. Even those who have little, he says, "will tell you that dependence on government doesn't work," while "personal responsibility" is essential.

AP

Bryant Terry, 40

The chef and author of Vegan Soul Kitchen credits his grandparents in Memphis, Tenn., for inspiring him "to grow, prepare and appreciate good food." Whether judging a "vegan gumbo cook-off" or writing about a vegetarian Thanksgiving, Terry is more than a foodie; he's a health activist.

MCT/Landov

The Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., 44

Since 2003, Yearwood has organized efforts to register young voters, encourage community service and support human rights with such hip hop luminaries as Sean "Diddy" Combs, Russell Simmons and Jay-Z. He continues that work as president and chief executive of the Hip Hop Caucus.

AP

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