15 Empowering Baby Names Inspired by Modern Activists

Tanvier Peart | Jul 21, 2016 Pregnancy

baby child at the blackboard with chalk drawn light bulb symbol ideas

By definition, an activist is someone who tries to effect social or political change. Championing for others, many do their best to make both the world and their surrounding communities a better place, regardless of the opposition they might receive.

If history has taught us anything, it's that we need to be the change we wish to see in the world. (Thanks, Gandhi!)

Here's a list of modern-day activists whose names would not only be great for your bundle of joy, but hopefully will inspire more of us to take action.

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Image via Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock 

  • Malala

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    Image via JStone / Shutterstock

    As a teenager, Malala Yousafzai has sparked a movement and continues to advocate for the right for girls to receive an education. Targeted and shot in the head by Taliban in her Pakistani town, Malala survived her wounds and went on to effect change -- becoming the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate. If ever there was a name to bestow upon a child, it's Malala.

    More from CafeMom: Malala Yousafzai's Brave Fight for an Education Is an Inspiration for Every Girl

  • Griffin

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    Image via PG / Splash News

    As the president of the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin has been working to provide equality for those within the LGBTQ community for many years. Once a political strategist, Chad also founded the American Foundation of Equal Rights, in response to California's passing the controversial Proposition 8. Needless to say, Griffin is a great baby name for your bundle of joy.

  • Emma

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    Image via Kristy Leibowitz / Splash News

    As troubling as it is to imagine, an estimated one in five women are sexually assaulted in college. Many survivors don't feel like they have a voice -- or that their university of choice believes them. That's what makes Emma Sulkowicz and her Carry the Weight performance art so amazing. This former Columbia University student encouraged an anti-rape movement, by carrying a 50-pound dorm mattress around campus as a powerful visual reminder that rape victims will not be silent. Coincidentally, the name Emma derives from the Germanic Erma that's associated with strength.

  • Obi

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    Image via BleacherCreatures.tv/Splash News

    On April 14, 2014, the world stood in total shock when Boko Haram kidnapped over 300 girls from a school in Nigeria. In a time of helplessness, Obiageli Ezekwesili, the former Federal Minister of Education of Nigeria, led the charge to not only keep those stolen from their families in the forefront of our minds, but to push the Nigerian government to get more involved in national matters as well. #BringBackOurGirls is a hashtag Obiageli started that continues to unite people across the world. In thinking of badass modern activists, the baby name Obi (Obiageli often uses the nickname "Oby") is a fine choice.

    More from CafeMom: 30 Nicknames That Make Better First Names

  • David

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    David Batstone's organization, Not for Sale, fights to put an end to human trafficking and modern-day slavery. With an estimated 21 million people enslaved around the world, this is an issue that we can no longer afford to overlook. David is a champion for those who are unable to call their bodies and minds their own, and the name David is a baby name that's perfect for a little boy.

  • Isabel

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    Just because someone is young does not mean he or she can't be influential in society. Alexis Isabel Moncada is the 17-year-old mastermind behind the Feminist Culture website. A contributor at MTV (she's also their 2016 MTV Social Star), Moncada incites dialogue about equality and women's rights without batting an eye. The teen activist even made headlines for her uber popular hashtag #GiveElsaaGirlfriend. Needless to say, this girl is awesome -- and so is the name Isabel.

  • Aria

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    If ever there was a person to inspire a baby name, it's Aria Finger. The 33-year-old has worked her way up the ladder of success to become the CEO of DoSomething.org, which challenges young people to change the world. With over a decade under her belt trying to effect change, Aria (Hebrew for "lioness") is a fierce baby name for your little one.

    More from CafeMom: 50 Cool Baby Names Inspired by the Bible

  • Rue

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    #DadsDontBabysit (It's called #parenting). Thanks @homedadnet!

    A photo posted by Chris Routly (@chrisroutly) on

    At the National At-Home Dad Network (NAHDN), Chris Routly hopes to dispel the notion that fathers "babysit" their children. A self-professed "accidental activist," Routly serves as the organization's president and continues to advocate for dads to get the parenting recognition they deserve. (Chris even got Huggies to modernize their campaigns.) Chris's last name, Routly, inspires the name "Rue" that's a super sweet baby name.

  • Van

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    Image via AdMedia / Splash News

    How are you making the world a better place for the next generation? As the founder of Dream Corps and Green for All, Van Jones is all about social justice and climate change. (He's even been a presidential adviser who helped make environmental policies a reality.) And, if that doesn't make Van Jones awesome, the name Van is all sorts of cute for a baby.

  • Opal

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    Ever since Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors founded #BlackLivesMatter in 2013, the organization has grown into a global movement -- sparking tough dialogue about race and social injustice. Championing for law enforcement accountability, and celebrating diversity and equality, #BlackLivesMatter has been quite influential. Should you be looking for a good baby name, Opal (remember, she's one of the cofounders) is a fine choice.

    More from CafeMom: 25 Precious Baby Names Inspired by Gemstones

  • Adam

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    One day, our society will get to a place of love and acceptance. But until that time comes, there are organizations, like NOH8, to lead the way. Adam Bouska is the cofounder and a celebrity photographer who felt inspired to use his artistic abilities in response to California's controversial Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage in 2008. Since then, Bouska's photos of influential figures wearing duct tape over their mouths and NOH8 on their cheeks continue to serve as a visual reminder to fight for human rights. Adam. Yeah, that's a great baby name for a boy. (It's simple, yet powerful.)

  • Marisa

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    As the cofounder of Mijente, "a political home for multi-racial Latinx and Chicanx people," Marisa Franco leads the way in mobilizing Latinos to advocate for their communities. Franco is also involved with the #Not1More Campaign, which aims to overcome immigration laws that tear families apart. Yeah, you should definitely keep the baby name Marisa on your short list.

  • Jesse

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    Ever since his unforgettable BET Awards acceptance speech, actor Jesse Williams has been turning heads. The Grey's Anatomy star continues to use his celebrity to encourage others to seek social responsibility -- and continues to champion for civil rights. Serving on the board of directors for The Advancement Project, a civil rights think tank, Williams recently executive produced the Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement documentary. Jesse refuses to be silent and will forever seek justice and equality. And, in case you didn't know, Jesse is a unisex baby name.

    More from CafeMom: The 29 Most Epic Celebrity Baby Names of 2016 (So Far)

  • Bryant

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    Black Girls Code is a nonprofit that hopes to inspire more young girls of color to pursue STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields -- sparking more coders and professionals to make an impact in innovation. CEO Kimberly Bryant felt out of place while studying programming and engineering in color. She hopes her organization will empower more ladies of color to enter STEM professions where they're currently underrepresented. While Kimberly is a wonderful baby name choice, Bryant is very striking.

  • Royce

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    By now, you've probably heard about Royce Mann, the ninth grader whose "White Boy Privilege" poem went super viral. Seeking to ignite conversations about race and systemic advantages, Royce hopes families will start having these tough conversations. "I made this poem for the people who disagree with me ... I made it for the people who disagree with me but are interested in starting a dialogue," Mann told People.


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