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Children should see a reflection of themselves in the books they read, my mission is to inspire them one adventure at a time.” - Anna Nyakana

Anna Nyakana, 2020 "100 Women of Color" Award Honoree & Valedictorian - LIVE 

My Niyah Zuri journey started five years ago, with constant “No’s”, closed doors, and obstacles in my path. Through it all, I remained consistently persistent, for I vowed to never let that younger version of myself down. The younger version that couldn’t find a character on the cover that looked like them and attended a low-performing school on the “wrong side” of town that no one cared to invest in it’s students. 

It is my DEEPEST honor to receive the 2020 “100 Women of Color Award” as well as being selected as this year’s Valedictorian. I will continue the work of investing in our kids regardless of their zip code, to ignite that flame within them and remind them each day of their worth and value through “The Fundamental Truths of Niyah Zuri”©; to create books and digital content that instills self-love through representation and teaches them of their glorious history and those of rich cultures different than their own. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, WHEN ONE OF US WIN, WE ALL WIN! Thank you all for your support over the years - I promise to not let you down - SHOUTOUT TO THE TRIBE!!! 

Special S/O to my Brother, my DAY 1 since birth Enock Nyakana. To my Soul Sisters, Sophie Lee and Bianca Danielle, thank you for always having my insides and straightening my crown when needed. To my dear friend Julien Guiteau for taking five modes of transportation from PA to record this incredible moment as an exclusive behind the scenes for Chillin With Julien and the countless friends and Tribe members that reached out before, during, and after the awards ceremony to uplift and sincerely pour into me - THANK YOU ALL! 

Deepest gratitude JuneArcher, ELEVEN28 Entertainment, and 100 Women of Color for this incredible honor - time to get back to work!

WATCH THE EXCLUSIVE BEHIND THE SCENES RECAP OF MY JOURNEY TO RECEIVE THE 100 WOMEN OF COLOR AWARD AND VALEDICTORIAN HONOR!

 

 

Anna Nyakana selected as Valedictorian for 2020 "100 Women of Color" Award - Hartford, CT 

AUGUST 27, 2020 - HARTFORD, CT --- ‘Strength is our motto’ for 5th annual 100 Women of Color Gala 

Susan Dunne 

Hartford Courant 

A CNN commentator, a children’s book author and an 8-year-old activist will be among the speakers at the 5th annual 100 Women of Color Gala & Awards, celebrating and inspiring community leaders. The gala, postponed from April by the coronavirus pandemic, will be held on Aug. 28 at Simsbury Meadows. 

“Women are the backbone, the pillars of community. Without them there would be no us. I want to honor them,” said June Archer, UConn lecturer, entrepreneur and author, of how the 100 Women of Color Gala began. “We’ve built a community of women coming together and supporting their own.”

 Anna Nyakana of New Britain, a children’s book author, will speak as the valedictorian of the 100 Women of Color Class of 2020. The rest of the Class of 2020, a wide range of women of color positively impacting their community, will accept awards, Archer said.

“Niyah Zuri & The Pharaoh’s Throne” and the upcoming “Niyah Zuri and The Mayan Eclipse,” which she plans to pitch as an animated series. Nyakana has worked with school systems in Hartford, Bloomfield, New London and New Haven to put her books in schools. 

“I grew up in a housing project in Stamford. Not the best school district. No one ever came to speak to us to tell us we were worthy,” Nyakana said. “That never really left me.” 

So she creates books to promote diversity, inclusion and female empowerment. “It’s a seed to implant into the minds of youths,” she said.

READ FULL ARTICLE: The Hartford Courant

Anna Nyakana, LIVE Interview on "The Vibe" 97.9 FM - New orleans, LA 

 

 

"Don't play with our kids, our children are not your pawns to do testing with for statistics. Our children are our future and we need to safeguard them!" What an incredible moment returning to "The Vibe Show" on 97.9 FM for my second interview this summer! WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ABOVE  with legendary Host and Producer Kevin Hampton as I drop some EXCLUSIVE announcements including my selection as Valedictorian of the 2020 "100 Women of Color" Awards and my NIYAH ZURI APPAREL dropping for youth and adults September 2020! S/O to the entire Vibe Show and 
Esource team! Thank you for your continued support of the Niyah Zuri movement and my mission to elevate our youth to their greatest potential!

Anna Nyakana Inducted into For(bes) the Culture  

It's with great esteem that I announce my selection as a member with the exclusive For(bes)The Culture! For(bes) The Culture was formed in Boston at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in October 2017 to gather the world’s current and future Black and Brown leaders to network, collaborate, share opportunities and discuss issues related to their respective communities and the world at large.

HONORED to continue the work to advance our communities for the youth’s inheritance always FOR THE CULTURE and now with support #FORBESTHECULTURE

ABOUT

The mission of For(bes) The Culture is to create equitable pathways for Black and Brown professionals. We’re a hub for elite leaders of color who are breaking down barriers & impacting culture globally to connect, collaborate and change. For(bes) The Culture provides a platform that fosters professional development, social consciousness, civic engagement, intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship through community service projects, social and cultural outings, personal and professional workshops and seminars, mentoring, tutoring and networking. FOR MORE DETAILS VISIT: For(bes) The Culture

Anna Nyakana Feature Article in Enspire Magazine - New York, NY 

AUGUST 7, 2020 - NEW YORK, NY --- Anna Nyakana Publishes Adventures of Young Heroine to Empower Children of All Backgrounds

Rising Author Uses Her Series to Broaden the Scope of the Publishing World 

ENSPIRE Contributor: Elizabeth Duchan 

Anna Nyakana is making waves in the publishing industry, one time-travel adventure at a time. The 33-year-old author has had immense success in her mission to provide a celebration of multiculturalism, female empowerment, and self-discovery for children through her writing. Born in Germany in 1986 and later moving to the United States, Nyakana pursued her passion for writing and singing throughout her teenage years while adapting to life as an immigrant and woman of color. After acquiring a Bachelor’s degree in Business and publishing The Student Survival Guide to Online College, Nyakana shifted her attention towards children’s books and bringing to life Niyah Zuri, a little girl much like her younger self. 

As the daughter of a Ugandan father and German-Moldavian mother, Nyakana recalls the constant struggle she felt in trying to relate to characters in books. “Growing up,” she said in an interview with News 12 Connecticut, “I could never find anyone on the cover that looked like me.” Thus began Nyakana’s mission to develop literature that not only celebrated diversity but allowed children of all backgrounds to identify with the multi-dimensional characters they so admired. 

Nyakana professes that she places a lot of the weight on herself as an author to bridge the gaps in gender equality and diversity in the publication world. With less than 10% of children’s books having a multicultural element and only 5% of authors being multicultural themselves, under-representation in writing has long run rampant. Within the education system especially, older books with predominantly white characters fail to reflect the diverse demographic makeup of the classrooms themselves. 

Nyakana aims to combat this prevalent issue by creating dynamic characters in which children can see themselves reflected. Her hope is to not only normalize but also to celebrate having a wide representation of backgrounds in books and media, especially in a school setting. 

While the book itself has been wildly successful in attracting children to reading, Nyakana explains that another primary focus was to illustrate the heroism of women. In a world where male protagonists often steal the spotlight in literature and media, Nyakana articulates that there is a profound need for “heroines [who] could slay the fiercest of dragons versus filling the typical princess in distress role.” Nyakana cunningly shifts typical gender roles through Niyah’s fearlessness and independence, weaving an inspiring tale of female strength and leadership. 

Nyakana continues to develop her series with its latest installment Niyah Zuri and The Mayan Eclipse and works to spread the messages of her books by integrating them into school curricula and visiting schools and virtual classes. Guided by her strong principles and pursuit of change, Nyakana is at the forefront of molding the landscape of children’s books, and her success story promises to reap profound benefits for generations to come. 

READ FULL ARTICLE: Enspire Magazine