In this era, the power of youth to take a chance is highly powerful and inspiring. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call B.S. Emma Gonzalez, senior, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
MELATI & ISABEL WIJSEN
Melati and Isabel Wijsen were only 10 and 12 years old, respectively, when they started on a course of activism that has drastically decreased the global usage of single-use plastic. The young women inspired by the country of Rwanda’s ban of polyethylene bags in 2008 and decided to try to get their native Bali to do the same. Their homegrown initiative of beach cleanups and government petitions graduated to organizations, advocating for reduced plastic use in 15 different countries. Bali is officially plastic bag free, and Indonesia will be by 2021, with the Wijsen to thank.
Marley Dias is the activist behind the #1000BlackGirlBooks twitter phenomenon. The hashtag was born out of the avid reader’s frustration that she couldn’t find any stories where the main characters looked like her. The book drive resulted in more than 11.000 books cataloged with black female protagonists and counting. Marley also wrote the book “Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You” as a guide to positive change through activism.
You’ve probably heard of this environmental activist after her passionate speech at the UN Climate Summit, but this 16-year-old student has been advocating for sustainability for years now. Greta Thunberg began by protesting the Swedish parliament in an effort to get them to do more to prevent climate change. She went on to organize Fridays for Future, a school climate strike movement. As of 2019, more than one million students around the world participated in a multi-city coordinated protest for stronger action against climate change.
After being diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, Asperger’s and OCD, Jaylen Arnold was bullied by peers for being different. He found that the anxiety he suffered as a result of the bullying worsened the symptoms of his disabilities. That’s what led Jaylen to found the Jaylen Challenge Foundation, which has educated more than 100,000 kids on recognizing bullying behavior and understanding each other’s differences.
At 17, Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate for her humanitarian efforts. She captured the world’s attention after being shot by the Taliban in Pakistan on her way to school because she was an advocate for women pursuing education. She is currently working towards her bachelor’s degree at Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall while continuing her charity work through her organization, The Malala Fund.
They are examples of the youth who bravely dare to make a change and inspire others. We will see our generation will have more powerful youth in the future. Youth is irresistible and has the vigor to make a change. Despite that, some of them still think that sometimes they can not be trusted because they are famous for not being responsible, rebellious, youth are fickle, they say prone to changing opinions on a dime, jumping onto bandwagons willy-nilly. Youth can not lead, they argue, and they certainly have no incident trying to influence policy or promoting social change. But we can see that not all of those things are correct. We can see in another way how youth represent, and make an action to inspire others.
Sometimes, indeed youth is reckless and does not listen to some argument that they think it is not their thing, but despite that, the way they are doing in their way that makes them powerful and unique. So, never underestimate the power and the voice of youth.
Article by Mastin Rusmala
Edited by Hanifah