For being cropped out of a major career changing photo of her life, Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate moved Twitter to verify her account @vanessa_vash.
She tweeted on Monday: “I have been verified! Thank you guys. This is because of you. I am so grateful. Thank you.”
While many expected her to keep silent, Nakate took to twitter to cry “racism” after an American news agency Associated Press [AP] cropped her out of a picture with white young activists in Davos.
“When I say that I am a climate activist, I mean that I am not going to stop fighting for the Planet and for hopes and dreams!”
On top of getting a verified twitter account, Nakate also has a Wikipedia page now talking about her life.
“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to working on my Wikipedia. Thank you.”
On her Wiki page, being cropped out of the picture is the biggest controversy of the 23 year-old.
Last Saturday, Ms Nakate tweeted an emotional video hitting at AP for cropping her out of a photo where she posed with other climate change activists; Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer, Loukina Tille and Isabelle Axelsson.
The activists were attending the annual World Economic Forum conference in Switzerland.
In the video that went gone viral over the weekend, the sobbing Nakate explained how the experience was the “hardest thing” and told AP they “didn’t just erase a photo. You erased a continent”.
The world was awake and the outcry was loud and clear.
In just three days, Nakate’s following has grown from less than 50,000 followers to 115,000 followers.
In a statement released on Friday, the Associated Press news agency (AP) Executive Editor Sally Buzbee apologized for the incident.
“We regret publishing a photo this morning that cropped out Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, the only person of colour in the photo. As a news organization, we care deeply about accurately representing the world that we cover,” Buzbee said.
Vanessa Nakate (born November 15, 1996) is a Ugandan climate activist. She grew up in Kampala and started her activism in December 2018 after becoming concerned about the unusually high temperatures in her country.
Nakate graduated with a Business Administration in Marketing from Makerere University Business School.
Actions for the climate
Inspired by Greta Thunberg to start her own climate movement in Uganda, she began a solitary strike against inaction on the climate crisis in January 2019.
For several months she was the lone protester outside of the gates of the Parliament of Uganda.
Eventually, other youth began to respond to her calls on social media for others to help draw attention to the plight of the rain forests in the Congo.
Nakate founded the Youth for Future Africa and the likewise Africa-based Rise Up Movement.
In December 2019, Nakate was one of a handful of youth activists to speak at the COP25 gathering in Spain.
In early January 2020, she joined around 20 other youth climate activists from around the world to publish a letter to participants at the World Economic Forum, calling on companies, banks and governments to immediately stop subsidizing fossil fuels.
She was one of five international delegates invited by Arctic Basecamp to camp with them in Davos during the World Economic Forum; the delegates later joined a climate march on the last day of the Forum.
In a 2019 interview with Amy Goodman for Democracy Now!, Nakate expressed her motivation for climate action: “My country heavily depends on agriculture, therefore most of the people depend on agriculture. So, if our farms are destroyed by floods, if the farms are destroyed by droughts and crop production is less, that means that the price of food is going to go high. So it will only be the most privileged who will be able to buy food. And they are the biggest emitters in our countries, the ones who will be able to survive the crisis of food, whereas most of the people who live in villages and rural communities, they have trouble getting food because of the high prices. And this leads to starvation and death. Literally, in my county, a lack of rain means starvation and death for the less privileged”.
In January 2020, the Associated Press news agency cropped Nakate out from a photo she appeared in featuring Greta Thunberg and activists Luisa Neubauer, Isabelle Axelsson, and Loukina Tille after they all attended the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Nakate accused the media of a racist attitude. Associated Press later changed the photo and indicated there was no ill intent, without presenting its apologies.
On January 27th 2020, AP Executive editor Sally Buzbee tweeted an apology using her personal account saying that she was sorry on behalf of AP.