Founder and CEO
Anya Dillard is a 17-year-old activist, philanthropist, performing artist, entrepreneur, content creator, and aspiring filmmaker. She is also the Founder of The Next Gen Come Up.
Anya who is currently a senior in high school, was most recently appointed as the 3rd black female Student Council President of her school and helped to organize what became known as the largest civil rights protests in West Orange, NJ history (garnering an audience of over 3,000 people) - at which she gave a poignant address that was viewed over 23,000 times via social media. Over the course of her high school career, Anya has participated in organizing protests demanding justice for the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting, advocating for climate change awareness, and even created her own image activism campaign to raise awareness for period poverty. She’s also performed at many annual Pride Expos and West Orange Black History Month celebrations throughout her high school career. In addition, Anya has planned demonstrations with local elected officials in her area to address inequities in education and socioeconomic disparities in neighboring communities. In collaboration with the
West Orange Youth Council, she helped to organize her town’s first-ever Juneteenth Celebration, and as a result of her many accomplishments, was featured in Elle Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, and Glamour Magazine, was named the 2021 NJASC (New Jersey Association of Student Councils) Student Leader of the Year, was honored as the recipient of the 2020 ConversationaLIST Human Rights Award. She was also awarded one of the first-ever BLACK GIRLS ROCK Social Justice Grants and graduated from Girls With Impact powered by Harvard Business School - an entrepreneurship program for ambitious young girls striving to make waves in various industries.
On top of being an AP/advanced honors student and an Honors IH Institute for Humanities graduate, Anya has gone on to mentor countless children and teens and has spoken at countless schools all over the nation, including Trinity Catholic Highschool in St. Louis, Missouri, and Future Ready Prep Middle School in East Orange, New Jersey. Anya is also a class of 2016-2020 alumni of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK (BLACK GIRLS LEAD) Conference, created by Beverly Bond in partnership with BET, which selects roughly 100 girls annually from tens of thousands of applicants all over the world to partake in a week-long mentorship program for impressive young leaders (sponsored by Barnard College, NYC).
Lastly, from the age of 5 until now, Anya has spearheaded an annual holiday gift-giving program for the long-term care pediatric division of Rutland Nursing Home at Kingsbrook Medical Center in Brooklyn. This program has raised thousands of dollars annually for children, ages newborn to 18, suffering from neurological and cognitive disabilities. She also raises funds annually for back-to-school supplies for the children of Sierra House in East Orange NJ, catering to single mothers facing homelessness.
As a future mass communications major, Anya hopes to continue her career as an activist through creating programming and content that empowers other young people to make a change and to share their perspectives on social/ political issues plaguing our generation. She believes that creativity is our biggest asset in the fight for equality and world peace, and she is constantly finding new ways to spread positivity and disrupt narratives.