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Future Seekers logo on a photo of Chelsea Miller
Photograph: Jon PremoschChelsea Miller

Civil Rights advocate Chelsea Miller is launching her own global media platform

Plus, how the Brooklyn native spends a day off in NYC

Written by Shaye Weaver for Time Out, in association with Batiste

Chelsea Miller was faced with a life-altering decision in the summer of 2020. When the pandemic hit and the George Floyd protests exploded, she could either continue to shelter at home and watch a system of abuse prevail or risk her health and step out to lend her voice to the front lines of the protests in NYC. As someone who had devoted her high school and college years to women’s rights and criminal justice advocacy, she chose the latter—and ended up co-founding the Freedom March NYC, one of the largest youth-led, civil rights organizations in the nation.

The 26-year-old Columbia University grad and Brooklyn native tells us that when she went to the protests outside of the Barclays Center that May, she saw disorganization and knew she had to act. For Miller, who was just 23 at the time, it was an opportunity to strengthen the movement by centering the message and bringing everyone together.

“People had to make the decision, that even with health risks, to still go outside,” she says. “I think that speaks much to what a society is. I remember being on the front lines and those are the moments that have ignited within me: it’s what community looks like, what humanity looks like, what showing up and taking care of each other looks like—it’s been in those moments.”

Chelsea Miller in front of the Brooklyn Museum
Photograph: Jon Premosch

Since then, the group has organized hundreds of marches and voter registration events and even spoke at the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington. The organization also raised $50,000 for its Freedom Fall voting initiative and even appeared in Ciara’s “Rooted” music video. Chelsea has appeared on numerous TV programs and at speaking engagements across the country as an authority on organizing movements in a digital age, including those for racial justice, women’s leadership, reproductive rights and more.

As far back as she can remember, fostering community and showing up for others have been second nature. Chelsea grew up with foster sisters—her mother was a social worker, who cared for pre-teen girls in their home. Today, this inclination translates to advocating for her community and breaking pervasive, harmful narratives.

In high school, Chelsea visited D.C. as part of the Vital Voices program and worked on women’s and girls’ rights advocacy and later worked in the Obama White House on criminal justice reform.

As one of the youngest interns in the White House at the time, she witnessed the 2016 election and administration transition from D.C. She said seeing Obama still be able to “inspire and create hope even at a time when it felt so dismal” was “a reflection of the good I want to be in the world. Even in the midst of chaos, we can still be that for other people.”

Now, as she continues her civil rights and media advocacy work, and “a little bit of everything,” she is about to publicly launch her own platform, CPM Global. The company will work with brands, organizations and leaders to shift narratives and tell the stories of women and communities of color to translate what we’re seeing in the world into stories.

If there’s one thing she’d pass on to her generation and those that come after her, it’s “bet on yourself.”

“So many times, we feel like we have to shrink ourselves to show up in spaces. So many times we ask ourselves if we are worthy of being there,” she says. “When we step out of the fear, when we step out of the feelings of how other people see us, we have the opportunity to see we are unstoppable, that we are abundant…that we are worthy of the world we are fighting for.”

Chelsea Miller
Photograph: Jon PremoschChelsea Miller

Here’s how Chelsea would spend an ideal Saturday


Like any New Yorker, Chelsea likes to start off her day by grabbing a quick bite at La Bagel Delight in Brooklyn because they have “the best bagels,” she says. This shop, which has multiple locations across the city, has been around for 25 years and has over 12 varieties of hand-rolled bagels.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Brooklyn Heights

After breakfast, she would relax and journal at Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has incredible views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, the Manhattan skyline and the East River. It’s one of the most scenic parks in the entire city!

  • Restaurants
  • Jamaican
  • Queens
  • price 1 of 4

For lunch, she’d go to The Door in Queens for “a taste of the islands.” This authentic Jamaican restaurant delivers on the classics, from Jerk chicken to escovitch and saltfish, the country’s national dish.

  • Museums
  • Natural history
  • Prospect Park
  • price 2 of 4

Chelsea loves going to the Brooklyn Museum, “which is good whether you’re hanging outside or going inside to take a look around. It’s always a vibe,” she says. The museum, found on the edge of the sprawling Prospect Park, has a large holding of Egyptian art as well as the famous feminist piece, The Dinner Party, by Judy Chicago. Works by such Impressionists masters as Cézanne, Monet and Degas are also included in the collection. Outside, its plaza is a hangout and meetup point for locals.

  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

Dinner would be at Kokomo, where “the pizza with ackee on it is out of this world!” Kokomo’s Caribbean-inspired menu also includes sweet plantain pancakes, saltfish avocado toast, fried breadfruit, braised oxtail, jerk chicken, and a variety of flatbreads. 

  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • Harlem
  • price 4 of 4

Chelsea's ideal night begins with a show at the Apollo Theater. "You can't talk about NYC without talking about the Apollo Theater," she says. "The music, culture, history, and energy!"

The city’s home of R&B and soul is known for launching the careers of Ella Fitzgerald, Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo, among others at its legendary Amateur Night competition, but it continues to mix veteran talents with younger artists.

The Schomburg Center is another option that is "a powerful space and central to the community," she adds. "Everyone should know about and visit the center."

The center is a treasure trove of vintage literature and memorabilia—all relating to black culture and the African diaspora—founded in 1926 by bibliophile Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. The center hosts jazz concerts films, lectures and tours!

  • Restaurants
  • Caribbean
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 2 of 4

Chelsea’s night ends at Negril Village. “The music, food, and vibes always make me feel at home,” she says.

Negril Village’s Jamaican breakfast, a smorgasbord featuring the national dish of ackee and saltfish as well as bammie (a crisp flatbread) is available all day long. It’s a split-level dining room enlivened by colorful murals, and the bar begins pulling in patrons from lunch onwards with its array of rum cocktails and the view of the fish tank.

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