Aminata Touré (*1992)

At the age of 23, the Green-party politician Aminata Tourébecame both the first black representative to the Schleswig-Holstein parliament and its youngest member. After receiving her bachelor’s degrees in political science and French philology, Touré interned under the parliament’s commissioner for refugees, and was herself sworn into parliament on June 29, 2017 as the spokeswoman for the Green Party. Touré’s work focuses on refugee reform, climate activism, and achieving social and political equality for all marginalized groups. Touré aims to restore transparency in Germany’s politics and achieve civic engagement of people from diverse backgrounds.

Born in 1992 in Germany as the child of two Malian refugees, Touré considers herself Afro-German because she feels a connection with both her parents’ Malian origins and the Germany in which she grew up. Born only months after her parents immigrated from Mali to Germany, Touré spent the first five years of her life in a refugee camp, but became a German citizen at age 12. Touré’s Afro-German identity drives many of her political projects; she believes her background gives her unique insight into the experiences of refugees living in Germany. Thus, she uses her position of power to represent other migrants by drawing critical attention to pervasive social and structural issues in Germany.

In addition to refugee reform, climate policy was a central theme in Touré’s campaign, but on a global rather than a nationwide level. She believes that global poverty reduction will yield more significant results than a focus on individual lifestyle changes. Feeling a responsibility to protect her parents’ homeland, she aims to enact political decisions in Germany that protect African countries, particularly Mali, from global climate crises.

Touré also tackles racism and discrimination in Germany, where 25% of the population have “migrant backgrounds,” and Touré iterates their experiences of disrespect and inequality. She aims to amplify voices of these migrants to expose the discrimination they face daily to start the necessary conversation on racism in Germany. Touré recognizes the inaction of Germany’s government in fixing these racial issues, mainly because lawmakers are not directly affected by them, and she uses her political influence to urge her fellow politicians to address this problem. Touré believes recognition of Afro-Germans is an important step to combating racism, so she aims to integrate more people of color into Germany’s government as a means to ending their underrepresentation and threats of racial violence.

– Megan McLeod (University of Missouri)