Charlene Carruthers, the Founding National Director of BYP100, has announced via a heartfelt letter that she will be leaving the organization at the conclusion of the year. For the past five years, Carruthers has lead and guided and managed a movement which has actively sought to center a Black queer feminist vision.

Founded in 2013, BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100) is a nationwide organization of Black youth activists birthed from a hashtag for the 2013 “Beyond November Movement Convening” spearheaded by Cathy Cohen, who also founded this site, Black Youth Project.

Carruthers’ leadership has seen BYP100 grow from a small community movement to a nationwide example of how to conduct the business of being accountable to those you advocate for in the public eye.

Carruthers credits her time at BYP100 as an era of growth and political home-creating. She says in the letter that even though she is leaving the position of National Director, her interests and politics will remain aligned with those of BYP 100.

Carruthers closes the letter with an ask for those who support both her work and the work of the BYP100 to give money to the organization.

Read the full letter below:

I’m writing to formally share that I will transition out of my role as BYP100 National Director at the end of this year. Writing this letter has taken longer than I expected it would. To be honest, it is difficult for me to share a note of transition with a community I plan to be in for the rest of my life. Before BYP100, I had no political home. Because of BYP100, I’ve learned the true meaning of leadership, personal and collective transformation.

When we began building this organization nearly five years ago, I didn’t know just how far we’d go. The night of the verdict in the killing of Trayvon Martin, at the hotel outside of Chicago, I stayed in the room until 1 am or so facilitating a group of our founding members to craft our next moves. And my goodness, we’ve taken it so far. Not everyone believed that a national grassroots organization led by young Black people was possible or necessary – but we’ve done just that. We’ve won campaigns and learned hard fought lessons. We’ve gained and lost comrades. We’ve developed the leadership of hundreds, yes hundreds, of young Black people across this country using a Black queer feminist lens. We’ve changed the narrative about what it means to be Black and fight for liberation, and touched thousands in the process.

People are ‘Unapologetically Black,’ demand us all to #SayHerName, chant #StopTheCops and #FundBlackFutures because our members put bodies in the streets and continue to form deep collaborations across movements. We are grounded in those who’ve come before us and laying solid ground for future generations. I believe that the best is yet to come.

I’m deeply appreciative and in awe of the talent this organization possesses. Our staff is the most dedicated and skilled group of leaders I’ve ever worked alongside. Our chapter, board and Healing and Safety Council leadership is comprised of committed people who work hard every day for the sake of Black liberation. Our team is innovative and poised to move the work forward

I’m clear that we are entering a new phase as an organization and that new leadership is needed to take us to the next level. I trust that the new leadership will carry forth the work developed by our Strategic Planning Team, maintain fidelity to our Articles of Liberation and a commitment to our role as a movement organization. We are forming a hiring committee comprised of board members, staff and OGs to identify leadership from within BYP100. I look forward to working side-by-side with the new leadership through an intentional transition process.

  1. My ask to movement partners, leaders and supporters is to continue to trust BYP100’s leadership and direction. Leadership transition, when done with integrity and intention is healthy. We have always been a leader-full organization, and will continue to be at the forefront of developing this generation of young Black leaders committed to collective liberation. As we move to become more self-reliant, I invite you to become a recurring donor. If you already support us, consider giving a little more to ensure the resource stability for our work.

BYP100 is my forever political home and I am grateful to be in struggle with this crew of people dedicated to Black liberation. My next steps in movement work will include a focus on training, political education and economic justice work. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted.”

In Black love and Black struggle,

Charlene A. Carruthers

Founding National Director, BYP100