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Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40

Malkia Cyril • 34
Oakland, Calif.
Founder, Center for Media Justice

For the last decade, Malkia Cyril’s to-do list included ending racism, solving poverty, and raising the voices of those seeking social justice. Lofty objectives, but she is determined to cross those items off her list.

In 2002 she launched the Center for Media Justice, an organization that trains social justice organizers to communicate their causes more effectively. She also founded the Media Action Grassroots Network, which ensures people aren’t left out of the national conversation just because they’re technology-deficient. The group lobbied against a proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile and helped establish “a minimal version of network neutrality—the first free speech rules to govern the Internet.” Cyril says there is still much to be done, especially online. She’s focused on preserving the Internet as a knowledge tool for citizens and discouraging its use as a marketing instrument for corporate America.

“I want media change I can measure, media leaders that rock, and media rules that protect our basic human rights,” she says. “Is that too much too ask?”


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