5 Young Activists Who Will Inspire Kids
Adults tell kids all the time that they can make a difference. We say they can be the people who’ll change the world. Some of us even read them books about inspiring social justice activists. Unfortunately, lots of times adults make it sound like it’s only possible to be an activist in the future, once a child has grown up.
Today, I’m sharing the stories of 5 young activists who will inspire kids, teens, and adults alike to stand up for what’s right. Keep reading (and watch their video clips) to see how they’re standing up for themselves, others, and the planet.
5 Inspiring Kid and Teen Activists Working for Justice
Marley Dias, Diverse Books Activist
Last year, Marley Dias decided that she was tired of reading books at school that were mostly about “white boys and their dogs.” While she read lots of books about Black girls like her at home, she couldn’t find those kinds of books at school. She launched her #1000blackgirlbooks campaign to change that.
Marley far exceeded her goal of collecting 1,000 books that had Black girls as main characters. She has also created a searchable Black Girls Book database. Now, she wants to pressure school board officials to diversify students’ required reading lists. She also has a guide to activism for kids coming out in the spring of 2018. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Related post: 1 Simple Way to Raise a Kid Activist
Sophie Cruz, Young Activist for Immigrant Rights
First grader Sophie Cruz inspired tens of thousands of people with her bilingual speech at the Women’s March. She first caught the world’s attention at an even younger age. Sophie scrawled a letter in crayon to the Pope about how she feared her parents will be deported. She handed it to him on his first day of visiting the United States.
In April of last year, she spoke outside the Supreme Court about the rights of immigrant children. “I have the right to protection. I have the right to live with my parents,” Sophie declared. She went on to remind us, “I have the right to live without fear. I have the right to be happy.” Her parents say that it was Sophie who first convinced them (not the other way around) to speak up for their family.
Related Post: How Your Family Can Stand Up for Immigrant Rights
Interested in taking action as a family but not sure where to start? Grab my free guide Growing Kid Activists 101. It has 19 different ways parents and educators can introduce children to social justice.
Avery McRae, Climate Change Activist
Not every 11 year old sues the government on behalf of the planet. But Avery McRae has cared about protecting animals since age 5, when she learned that snow leopards were endangered. She’s part of a group of 21 kids and teens who have sued the federal government, saying that their constitutional rights have been violated by its promotion of fossil fuels and its contribution to the climate crisis.
In the video below, Avery shares some of the ways she’s taken action for the planet. She’s got great ideas for how kids can fundraise to protect the animals they care about.
Related post: 9 Ways Kids Can Protect the Planet
Rebekah Bruesehoff, Trans Youth Activist
When President Trump rolled back protections of trans kids, ten year old Rebekah Bruesehoff spoke out. Her mom snapped a photo of her at a rally they attended together, where Rebekah held a sign she’d made.
“I’m the scary transgender person the media warned you about,” this smiling, purple-haired girl’s sign declared. At the rally she spoke to more than 200 people. She talked not only about the rights of trans kids, but the rights of all people.
Three years ago, Rebekah was suffering from depression and anxiety. Rebekah, her mom (a blogger) and her dad (a pastor), with expert support, came to realize that she was a girl, not a a boy. In this video for the series My Trans Life, Rebekah and her parents show how she’s just being herself.
Get your family started with activism (or deepen what you’re already doing together) with my free guide: Top Ten Resources for Activist Families. You’ll also get access to lots of other free goodies in my subscribers-only Resource Library.
Ziad Ahmed, Teen Activist Defying Stereotypes
Ziad Ahmed became an activist in middle school. He co-founded Redefy to fight stereotypes about race, religion, gender, and age. He made national news last year when he was accepted into Stanford after completing an essay question by writing the phrase #BlackLivesMatter 100 times. He’s now a freshman at Yale University.
Ziad speaks out not only about the stereotypes he’s faced as a Muslim-American, but also as a teenager. “I want people to hopefully see me as me,” he told The Los Angeles Times, “because I really do believe at our core – we are all more similar than we are different.”
In this video, Ziad shares the challenges teens face in defying stereotypes and discrimination, and gives inspiring examples of young people who’ve spoken out for equity.
Related post: 5 Tips for Teaching Kids About Racism
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out 12 Ways You Can Be an Activist Mama (even if you don’t want to march in the streets)