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13 Activist Kids Who Are Going to Save Our World

The bad news: 2020 has been a total garbage fire. The good news: We as a culture have become more politically active than ever — and that includes our kids. Parents are having (ongoing and/or long overdue) conversations with their kids about violence, educating them about privilege and racism, and teaching them to be activists in their schools and communities.

But what’s one thing that can make all the difference between your kid smiling and nodding vs. actually getting out there and enacting change? An activist role model, of course. Nothing is quite as inspiring to a kid as seeing just how many diverse, incredible, badass child and teen activists are out there these days, battling for Black lives, climate justice, and much more.

We’ve rounded up 13 kids who have made a name for themselves doing just that: fighting the good fight. Whether they’re petitioning, picketing, giving speeches, spearheading powerful protests of thousands, or creating activist artwork from home, these young people are making a difference — and they’re setting an amazing example for your kids. And, you know, for all of us adults too. This is one (baker’s) dozen kids you’ll want to follow, stat.

Sarah Goody

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WEEK 48: Environmental justice is racial justice. In order to achieve climate justice we must create a world where people are not judged solely by the color of their skin. A future where systemic racism and police brutality come to an end. Today is #worldenvironmentday – a time where we must recognize the importance of the African American Community and other POC communities to the health of our planet. You aren’t a climate activist if you don’t actively support the black lives matter movement. You aren’t a climate activist if you aren’t fighting for lgbtq+ rights, immigration rights, and women’s rights. Quick facts about Environmental Racism: ⠀ 🌱Communities of color have higher exposure rates to air pollution than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts ⠀ 🌱Landfills, hazardous waste sites, and other industrial facilities are most often located in communities of color ⠀ 🌱Lead poisoning disproportionately affects children of color ⠀ 🌱Climate change disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color ⠀ 🌱Water contamination disproportionately affects low-income areas and communities of color ⠀ (Facts provides by Shout out to @jamie_s_margolin for the graphics!

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Sarah Goody is the founder of Climate NOW; she’s a 15-year-old activist who is, believe it or not, currently residing in an animal sanctuary in Hawaii. She was given The Diana Award (in memory of Princess Diana) for her efforts to support climate justice — and she led the San Francisco Climate Strike with 40,000 protesters behind her.


I am so beyond proud of these teens from my adopted hometown who led a march of 10,000 through downtown Nashville to protest police brutality and violence against Black Americans. Teens4Equality is made up of Zee Thomas, Nya Collins, Jade Fuller, Mikayla Smith, Kennedy Green, and Emmarose Smith. And, yes, their remarkable organizing work caught the eye of our once and forever king/dad, President Barack Obama. Follow Teens4Equality on Instagram for updates and to buy merch — and join us for their next protest if you’re in town.

Genesis Butler

Genesis Butler gained fame at age 10 when she became one of the youngest people to ever give a TED Talk. She’s the founder of nonprofit Genesis for Animals and is an outspoken advocate of animal rights, climate justice, and (no surprise here) veganism. And as it turns out, activism is in Butler’s blood; her great grand-uncle was labor rights organizer Cesar Chavez.

Alexandria Villaseñor

Villaseñor is a 15-year-old climate activist, co-founder of US Youth Climate Strike and the founder of Earth Uprising. Basically, she’s our very own stateside Greta Thunberg — and we’re lucky to have her.

“When I go out and protest, it’s one of the ways that I feel like I have a say in what’s going to happen,” Villaseñor told The New Yorker when she was 14.

Isra Hirsi

17-year-old Isra Hirsi, who proudly declares herself “*the* angry Black girl” is an activist, a high schooler, and a force of nature located in Minneapolis, MN. She’s another co-founder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, and she’s also (notably) the daughter of fellow badass woman Ilhan Omar, the congresswoman who in 2019 became the first woman of color to hold elective office in Minnesota.

Vic Barrett

OK, we’re maybe stretching the word “kid” here because Barrett is 21, but he’s been at this for awhile. The seasoned activist is a Fellow with Alliance for Climate Change, he’s a part of Our Children’s Trust — and in 2015, he notoriously sued the federal government over climate change.

“Climate change isn’t just about temperatures and weather, it’s about people,” Barrett writes on the Our Children’s Trust site. “Our earth will be here for millennia, it’s up to us to decide if humanity will be too.”

Xiye Bastida

Mexican-Chilean activist Bastida pretty much sums up her (already impressive!) life’s work in this very Instagram post: “My sport is activism,” she writes, chronicling how, when she became involved in the fight for justice, any other sort of “extracurriculars” fell away. Bastida is a member of the indigenous Mexican Otomi-Toltec nation and grew up in San Pedro Tultepec.

“Earth is our home,” she told PBS. “It gives you air, water and shelter. Everything we need. All it asks is that we protect it.”

Peyton Brown

But activism doesn’t always have to mean hitting the streets. Peyton Brown decided to use her voice — and her talents — for change by starting a fashion line to empower young girls to speak out. She started designing at just 7 years old, and this little artist-activist proves there are so many different ways we can fight for change.

“We are the next generation of leaders, and I can’t wait to see what happens,” Brown writes on her site. And we couldn’t agree more.

A version of this story was originally published in June 2020.

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