Youth-led activism

Young people have a history of bringing social change. Parkland students, for example, are a part of America’s longstanding tradition of youth-led activism. Young people have led the charge on some of the biggest shifts in social policy and justice throughout U.S. history. Since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida in February 2018, young people have emerged as leaders at the forefront of the gun control movement. Many conservative figures have failed to recognize that the teenagers are continuing a long-standing tradition of youth-led activism in U.S. politics, often leading the way towards social change. Back in February 1960, four Black students from North Carolina sat down at a “whites only” lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina in what is considered a pivotal moment in the fight for Black civil rights. Either through anger or frustration they are willing to take the reins and call out adults for failing to act.

(May 2018) Young people are angry’: the teenage activists shaping our future. Fed up with waiting for the older generation to sort out its problems, a growing number of teenage activists are taking matters into their own hands. Here, six motivated people reveal why they’ve decided to fight for a better world. In a political climate where most adults are inert with despair, a growing number of teenagers are responding with action. link

Zero Hour – youth march for climate change – July 21, 2018. Young people from around America will march in Washington DC on July 21. The mission of the Zero Hour movement is to center the voices of diverse youth in the conversation around climate and environmental justice. Zero Hour is a youth-led movement creating entry points, training, and resources for new young activists and organizers (and adults who support our vision) wanting to take concrete action around climate change. Together, we are a movement of unstoppable youth organizing to protect our rights and access to the natural resources and a clean, safe, and healthy environment that will ensure a livable future where we not just survive, but flourish. link

Across the world, young people are taking governments to court to act on climate change. The litigation ignited by Our Children’s Trust in 2015, known as the Juliana lawsuit, relies on the public trust doctrine, a legal canon that stresses the government’s hold on resources such as land, water or fisheries as treasure for the people. The children’s lawsuits extend that principle by asserting the government also is a trustee of the atmosphere. The groundbreaking climate lawsuit was brought against the federal government by 21 children, and has been hailed by environmentalists as a bold new strategy to press for climate action in the United States. Environmental groups say the case, if it’s successful, could force even a reluctant government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take other measures to counter warming. Cases are also being brought around the world with cases in Europe (Portugal) and South America (Columbia) See lawsuit page

The Sunrise Movement. Sunrise Movement was launched in Philadelphia in June 2017. While organized in the United States there are supporters for the movement around the globe. Their mission statement reads: “Sunrise Movement is building an army of young people to stop climate change and bring millions of good jobs in the process.” As of May 2018, Sunrise has 200 volunteers and numbers are growing daily. Hubs are where young people organize locally and work on getting candidates and politicians to sign the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, which just hit 500 candidate and politician signers. We are also running a program called Sunrise Semester, where young people will work on elections leading up to November 2018 for candidates who will protect the health and well being of everyone in 5 key states – Michigan, Florida, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New York. Sign up to receive updates.

Link to Student page