After recently discovering a few young, teenage activists, I thought I'd compile a list of ten young, diverse, activists who are working hard to better their communities and the world around them. For anyone interested in helping out their communities or wanting to make a positive impact, reading up on what others are doing can be incredibly helpful and motivating. It's also important to continually share the work of young activists in order to propel their message and simply educate others on what is being done to combat certain issues. So, below, in no particular order, are ten young activists whose messages and actions, should be known and championed.
10. MARLEY DIAS
Marley Dias is 14 years old and launched a campaign in 2015 (when she was only 10!) called #1000BlackGirlBooks as a result of feeling frustrated that she wasn't reading books in school that had black main characters. The goal of her campaign was to donate and collect 1000 books featuring black girls as main characters rather than white boys. Her campaign was a huge success and resulted in her getting her own book deal and eventually publishing a book titled Marley Dias Gets It Done. In her book, Marley describes her journey in activism and social justice and inspires other kids to make positive changes within their own communities.
9. JAMIE MARGOLIN
Today I am joining the #FridaysForFuture family and I will now #SchoolStrike every Friday until all #AmazonRainforest deforestation has stopped 🌳 . I am striking here in the United States in solidarity with the school strikers in my family’s home country of Colombia 🇨🇴 , where much of the Amazon Rainforest is. I was inspired by the bravery of the Latin America #Fridays4Future movement and the youth there who risk so much in dangerous circumstances to break the rules for what is right. If they can do it, I can do it. If the Amazon Rainforest is deforested any more, we lose the battle for survival for life on earth. So I am joining my Latin American siblings in breaking the rules for #climatejustice and joining their fight to protect the green places of #Latinoamérica 👊🏼! Feel free to join me everyone. #SaveTheAmazon #FridaysForForest #ThisIsZeroHour #SchoolStrikeforClimate
Jamie Margolin is a 17-year-old climate justice activist and founder of the organization Zero Hour. Primary aims of the Zero Hour organization, according to their website, is to educate communities around the United States on various possible causes for climate change, such as capitalism, racism, and colonialism, and how those relate to the climate movement as well as the concept of climate justice. She founded the organization after realizing that we were running out of time to reverse the effects of climate change and felt we were in need of a radical change. She volunteered at Hillary Clinton's Washington State headquarters at the age of 14 and has been a part of organizing several protest marches calling for more government actions.
8. MARI COPENY
Mari Copeny is 11 years old and shot to national attention when, at just 8 years old, she wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to meet her, and a few other people in Washington DC to talk about the Flint water crisis. She had already been actively campaigning for awareness against the fact that Flint, Michigan was not receiving clean water. Obama responded and said that he would instead, come to Flint and make sure that people there were getting the help they needed. Mari has raised money online for students going to school in Flint, helped load cases of water into resident's cars, participated in anti-bullying campaigns, and worked to give underserved kids free screenings of diverse movies.
7. XIUHTEZCATL MARTINEZ
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is an 18-year-old indigenous environmental activist and the youth director of Earth Guardians. Earth Guardians is an organization that wants to empower young people and help them by giving them leadership opportunities. It focuses on environmental awareness and action. Xiuhtezcatl, as youth director for Earth Guardians, has spoken at the United Nations, worked to get pesticides removed from local parks, and is one of 21 plaintiffs involved in a primarily-youth led lawsuit against the US federal government for its lack of direct actions against climate change.
6. GRETA THUNBERG
‘Because that future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once.’ A small part of my speech at the British Parliament yesterday. Full speech on Facebook/link in bio. #fridaysforfuture #climatestrike #schoolstrike4climate
Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist. She's most known for starting the Friday school strikes for climate change. She started by protesting outside the Swedish parliament for more action against climate change. Gradually, her movement grew and grew, resulting in students from 112 countries joining in on her school strikes for climate change. She's currently a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, has given Ted Talks about climate change, addressed the COP24 at the UN Climate Change Summit in 2018, and has spoken to British Parliament about her concerns for the lack of significant action being taken against climate change.
5. BLAIR IMANI
Two years ago today I was arrested in Baton Rouge for protesting the murder of #AltonSterling at the hands of two Baton Rouge police officers. For two years the Sterling family has grieved without receiving justice. For two years, I and many other protesters have had our lives put on hold by pending charges and the threat of further action from the Baton Rouge police department. So much has happened over these past two years. I feel like a different person. For two years I’ve seen these photos in various articles about police violence and I’ve shuddered. Sometimes it feels like I’m looking at someone else, another woman who is screaming for fear of her life. Today I can recognize that this was me. In the streets of Baton Rouge after chanting beside my partner of 3 years, @keemomuhammad. We said things like “put the guns down” and “the world is watching”. Alas, we ended up in cuffs and spent the next hours en route to East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. I am stronger today than I was two years ago but this is only because I’ve had resources to help me parse through the trauma. Today I mentor youth activists like @littlemissflint, @royce_the_mann, and @ziadtheactivist. Whether you can be literally in the streets or organizing online we need everyone to make a positive change. How are you working toward a better world? #BlackLivesMatter
Blair Imani is a 25-year-old activist and writer. She wrote the book Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History and is currently writing a book on the Great Migration which is set to come out in January of 2020. Along with her writing, she is a strong member of the Black Lives Matter Movement. In 2016, she was arrested for protesting the murder of Aaron Sterling. She is also the executive director of the feminist organization Equality for HER and has protested actively against the Executive Order 13769 (aka the Muslim Ban ordered by current President Trump).
4. MALALA YOUSAFZAI
Malala Yousafzai is a 21-year-old Pakistani activist for female education. After the Taliban occupied Pakistan and prevented women and girls from gaining access to an education, Malala started advocating for education from a young age. When she was 11, she started writing for the BBC Urdu under a pseudonym about the Taliban occupation in her city. A few years later, in 2012, she and a few other girls were taking the bus home after taking an exam and were shot by a Taliban gunman who was reacting to Malala's rising activism for female education. After she recovered, she started the non-profit organization called the Malala Fund and wrote a book titled I am Malala, detailing her story. She received the Nobel Peace Price in 2014 and is currently studying at Oxford University.
3. JAZZ JENNINGS
Jazz Jennings, at 18 years old, is an LGBT rights activist and co-founder of the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation which aims to help transgender youth. She also founded the company Purple Rainbow Tails, where she makes rubber mermaid tails and raises money for transgender youth. She has frequently talked about the issues facing young transgender people both on her Youtube channel and on her reality TV series titled I am Jazz.
2. EMMA GONZALEZ
Emma Gonzalez, 19, is an activist for gun control. She was among the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who survived the shooting there in February of 2018. Since then, she's been a strong advocate for gun reform and gun control. She was also a key organizer of the March For Our Lives movement, a demonstration led by students around the country, campaigning for better and stricter gun laws. Emma has also spoken at the televised town hall meeting in 2018 in which she and other students criticized the NRA (National Rifle Association) as well as those who support it and receive money from the Association. She also spent the summer touring the United States, registering people to vote and talking about gun reform.
1. DEJA FOXX
That 2019 may bring opportunity that shapes us into the people we are meant to become. That it may be the year in which we share wholeheartedly because we see our success as tied to one another. That it may be the time in which we embrace our most authentic selves with love, forgiveness, and patience. . Let’s make power moves in 2019! Share the 2nd pic to your story and @ organizations in the comments who should work with me to help me start the year off strong. Also, check out the new website in my bio. . Photos: @drewescriva Graphics: @raphaeldelaghetto #girlboss #feminist #changemaker #activist #youthactivist #student #womenleaders #feminism #newyears2019 #newyearsresolution #youthactivism #college
Deja Foxx, 19, advocated for better sex education as she noticed the way the lack of sex education negatively impacted low-income people of color. Deja worked with Planned Parenthood and went viral for speaking up to Arizona State Senator Jeff Flake about women's health. She has also helped found the Reproductive Health Access Project. She has also worked on several marches and walkouts protesting gun violence. Deja has also lobbied on Capitol Hill, worked to end family separation, and has founded GenZ Girl Gang. She has also been named as one of Vogue's 21 under 21.