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Activists Among TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2024

Last month, when TIME released its latest feature on the most influential people of 2024, the magazine included several grassroots activists working against incredible odds to protect LGBTQ+ lives and end violence against women. The Fund is proud to have supported their powerful movements for equality and justice, and we are thrilled to see their achievements recognized on the world stage.

Rosanna Flamer-Caldera

Rosanna Flamer-Caldera is the founder and leader of Equal Ground, an LGBTQ+ rights organization in Sri Lanka. Equal Ground is a grantee-partner of the Legal Empowerment Fund, a program of the Fund for Human Rights that supports grassroots groups helping marginalized communities know, use, and shape the law.

In Sri Lanka, same-sex relationships are criminalized, with penalties of up to a decade in prison, and stigma and discrimination are rampant. Rosanna created Equal Ground to dismantle the legal barriers that prevent LGBTQ+ people from living safe and free lives. Following a critical court victory in 2023, Equal Ground and its allies began advocating for legislation that would overturn criminal penalties for same-sex relations. Thanks to Equal Ground’s tireless work, the Sri Lankan Parliament could pass a bill overturning these policies this year.

Read Rosanna’s TIME100 feature.

Julienne, an African woman with cropped hair, waves as she walks the Time100 red carpet in a violet dress

Julienne Lusenge

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gender-based violence is widespread. Conflict, internal displacement, and food insecurity only increase the risk for women and girls. Amid this challenging context, Julienne Lusenge and the group she founded, SOFEPADI, are working to increase respect for women’s rights.

SOFEPADI provides critical resources to survivors of physical and sexual violence, including legal support and medical care. They run a hospital in Bunia dedicated to treating survivors of sexual assault. The organization also runs training centers that teach girls and women trade and entrepreneurship skills, and it works to boost women’s community and political leadership. The Fund supported SOFEPADI for 15 years, starting in 2006, as it grew from a young organization to a leading voice for human rights, providing funding for staff, development of new programs, and security when working in conflict zones.

Today, it’s a pillar of Congolese civil society, a key advocate for local humanitarian groups, and a fierce defender of women’s rights.

Read Julienne’s TIME100 feature.

Frank, an African man wearing a brown suit and glasses, speaks while seated behind a table microphone

Frank Mugisha

When Uganda passed one of the world’s most extreme anti-LGBTQ+ laws last year, most queer Ugandans fled or went into hiding. Frank Mugisha, the current head of Sexual Minorities Uganda, doubled down on his public advocacy. (A month before TIME100’s publication, SMUG was shut down by a Ugandan court.)

Frank has become one of the most visible representatives of the Ugandan LGBTQ+ movement, calling international attention to the horrific law, which includes provisions for the death penalty and years in prison for activists and allies. With other African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Ghana considering similar legislation, the inspiring work of Frank and the LGBTQ+ activists he represents is more courageous than ever. The Fund has proudly stood with the LGBTQ+ community in different countries across Africa during this onslaught on their fundamental rights. We condemn the current law and oppose all measures to deny LGBTQ+ people their safety and dignity.

Read Frank’s TIME100 feature.

The Fund congratulates Rosanna, Julienne, and Frank on being named to the TIME100 list of the year’s most influential people. Against a backdrop of rising authoritarianism and deteriorating human rights, it is heartening to see their inspiring work recognized and their hopeful stories shared with the world.