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NewsCommunityHow activist and author Nyla Choates continues to make worldwide change

How activist and author Nyla Choates continues to make worldwide change

You may recognize her for bringing change to Milpitas after organizing a Black Lives Matter protest when she was a 16-year-old Milpitas High School student.

At present, Nyla Choates is a 20-year-old activist and author studying English at Spelman College, the number one historically Black college and university in the United States. And when she’s not studying, she is working hard as the founder of her social justice non-profit, My Roots Are Rich.

It is clear that Nyla works hard in everything that she does; however, she triples that effort when it comes to educating others about African American culture. On her website, she states that she had felt inadequate compared to the other students in her high school class for months before she finally decided to do something about it, then enrolled in programs that would teach her more about her history. 

“I was taught to love everything about myself and my roots. From the curl of my hair to the melanin in my skin, I learned to love it all!”


According to Nyla, she has always had a passion for her culture. But growing up, she believed her roots were not rich, due to the way her people were described in school textbooks – poor, diseased, and worse. As she aged, though, Nyla started studying more about Black culture to deepen her understanding, then soon she wanted to spread her love around the world. 

Only a junior in college, she is already making a mark. Nyla is the author of a children’s book with the same name as her non-profit, My Roots Are Rich, created to inspire and educate others on the history and culture of African Americans. Recently, she was selected to be a McDonald’s Change Leader due to her community activism. Nyla shared with The Beat that there have been many book bans of children’s stories like hers, ones created to empower Black children. However, this new platform has helped her to share her story. Thanks to being a McDonald’s Change Leader, she has been able to speak on a variety of stages: Culturecon LA; BET Hip Hop Awards; featured in Essence magazine; Afrotech; Urban One Honor Awards; and more.

“Because of the platform they have given me, I have been able to reach more than 5,000-plus children globally with my children’s book,” she said.

While working with BET, one of her greatest accomplishments was writing and filming her own video segment, which aired during the BET Hip Hop Awards. This allowed her to educate the public on the roots of hip hop music. Meanwhile, another of her proudest moments came during last month’s Sunnyhills Neighborhood Association breakfast in Milpitas, where she was a speaker; Congressman Ro Khanna was present and gave her recognition for her efforts.  

“It truly means the world to me to be honored for the work that I do,” Nyla shared. 

Nyla’s core desire is to help other Black children feel the same way about themselves as she does: empowered. She will continue to use her platform to ensure that all around the world, such children are deeply and fully represented.


Paid for by Evelyn Chua for Milpitas City Council FPPC#1470209spot_img
Olivia Gerling
Olivia Gerling
Olivia Gerling is freelance writer and public relations professional. As a former broadcast reporter, she writes about a little of everything - government, crime, lifestyle, and more. She graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism in 2018 with an emphasis on television and broadcast reporting. Now, Olivia spends her time using her journalism skills to pitch clients to media outlets and contribute to a variety of publications.


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