Meet the Creator
Anya (a.k.a. AJ) Dillard is a 16-year-old youth activist, womanist, performing artist, and aspiring mass communications major. She is the CEO and editor of The Next Gen Come Up. Since she was young, Anya was known for her generosity and compassion. At just 5 years old, Anya started an annual Holiday gift-giving charity at Kingbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Gaining thousands of dollars in sponsorships, Anya was able to provide clothes, toys, and necessities to the children living at Kingsbrook’s ICU.
Growing up in a family of black artists and entrepreneurs, Anya became extremely interested in the arts, while simultaneously studying STEM careers and environmental science. Being so multifaceted inspired her to find an avenue in which all of her passions could thrive, and that avenue was activism. Upon entering high school, she participated in protests demanding justice for the victims of the Parkland, FL shooting and performed at many annual Pride Expos advocating for the #blacklivesmattermovement and honoring Black History Month.
On top of her work as an activist, Anya is an advanced honors student and a 3rd-year alumni of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK (BLACK GIRLS LEAD) Association created by Beverly Bond in partnership with BET. Over the years, she has won countless Presidential awards for her outstanding academic achievements, graduated from the Envision STEM Scholars Program in 2016, has recently been featured on The Homegirl Project, HerVoiceMatters.com, The Represent Movement, African Tea’s IGTV, and was even invited to the 2017 Presidential Inauguration (she proudly declined).
Her goal with creating The Next Gen Come Up was to not only spread awareness but to create a community of likeminded teen leaders who want to empower each other, inspire the world, and spark real change in their communities. With so many things in the works, Anya is always engaged and advancing, but she is always one to stress that her favorite thing is seeing other women of color disrupt the narrative, create inclusive avenues, and become leaders in their communities as well.