Most kids have no idea what this word means. I had no idea what it meant, even when what I was doing was activism. But now activism is a part of who I am. It’s a part of who we are as a society. When we see an injustice in the world and stand up and speak out to change it, that’s activism.
Youth activists have been at the forefront of many movements. From Black Lives Matter to the fight against climate change, kids today are stepping up and speaking out because we know that the world is ours, too. If we don’t help fix the mess that people are making now, it will be way harder for us to fix it in the future.
Today’s youth are more connected and more aware of what’s going on around us than ever before. We’re able to coordinate with others from across the country and build platforms to bring change to the world.
No more sitting around and waiting for the adults to fix things. No more letting our elected politicians make decisions about our lives. It’s time for us to speak up for ourselves because it’s our present, and our future, that are at stake.
In 2014 officials in Flint, Michigan, switched the city’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The improperly treated river water ate away at pipes, causing dangerous chemicals to leach into the water. Thousands of children were exposed to dangerously high levels of lead.
In 2016 eight-year-old Mari Copeny wrote a letter to President Barack Obama about the Flint water crisis. President Obama responded to Mari’s letter and visited the city. Mari told him, “You know, I wrote to you!” The president replied, “I know! That’s why I decided to come.” Thanks in part to Mari’s efforts, the federal government granted $100 million to Flint to upgrade its water system.
Today Mari “Little Miss Flint” Copeny continues to raise awareness of Flint’s struggle to recover from the water crisis. She has also raised more than $500,000 to help the city’s children.
Copyright © 2020 by Jo Rippon (Author). All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.