Anya Dillard is a 19-year-old award-winning activist, philanthropist, social entrepreneur, model, and content creator majoring in journalism and video production, with a minor in social justice, at Rutgers University, Newark.
She is the Founder of The Next Gen Come Up – a registered non-profit that encourages youth to pursue activism, get involved in community service, organize amongst their peers, and raise awareness through creating thought-provoking works of art. Anya has been a socio-political changemaker since she was 12, but she started her first charity initiative when she was just 5 years old – one that's since raised tens of thousands of dollars each year to provide children suffering from severe physical and neurological disabilities with essential resources.
Throughout her career, Anya has helped organize countless protests advocating for climate change awareness and reproductive justice, demanding justice for victims of gun violence, and fighting for black liberation. She even created the #MyRedStripe campaign – an image activism campaign aimed towards eradicating period shame in schools, raising awareness for period poverty, and raising funds to provide underserved youth with menstrual hygiene products. In her community, Anya is best known for contributing to the largest civil rights demonstration in her town’s history (garnering an audience of over 3,000 people), delivering a speech that received over 26,000 views via social media, helping to organize her town’s first-ever Juneteenth celebration, and being elected president of the first all-female, all POC, Student Council cabinet in her high school’s history.
When she isn’t organizing, giving back to communities in need, or creating content to amplify POC representation, Anya works as a keynote and youth mentor – speaking at countless political forums, including The Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative, and serving as a keynote at schools and events all over the world. As a result of her many accomplishments and extensive advocacy work, Anya has been featured by countless companies and media publications including The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Instagram, Afropunk, Red Table Talk, REVOLT TV, Elle, Seventeen, and Glamour Magazines.
She was also honored as a part of McDonald’s Future 22 and Ulta Beauty’s Muse 100, receiving dozens of other social justice and community engagement awards including the Conversationalist Human Rights Award, and the 2021 New Jersey Association of Student Councils’ Student Leader of the Year Award to name a few. Anya currently works as a strategist for Freedom March NYC.
If she were to win the Global Student Prize, Anya would use the money to organize a traveling Changemaker Summit – an event that could be hosted in the auditoriums of high schools and colleges all over the country, and that is ultimately geared towards inspiring young people to utilize their talents to be revolutionary in whatever career field they want to pursue.