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Youth Climate Activism: Jamie Margolin’s “Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It.”

Jamie Margolin, co-founder of Zero Hour, described issues in current youth organizing from the inside that I glimpsed from my interviewees for “Climate Girls Saving Our World.” Her organization of a climate strike in 2018 inspired Thunberg, who started school striking a few weeks later. She also inspired Nadia Nazar* who co-founded Zero Hour at age 15 when they connected on Instagram from opposite sides of the US. Now both are in their first year of university. Activists start young: Margolin started in second grade organizing a Green Club.

Intersectionality is a theme: Margolin identifies as a young, Jewish, Latina, gay woman. Her book is dedicated “To the queer kids: We are unstoppable.” She faults the older environmental movement for lacking a national space for young women and POC leaders; therefore, Zero Hour is mostly led by young women, as is typical of youth climate organizations.

The title of her book Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It reveals a common theme: the belief that Gen Z has power. They’re media sophisticated, as her many suggestions in the book reveal, and they’re likely to use art, videos, music, etc. She suggest filming politicians when lobbying them. Stories convince people more than facts because they spark emotion.

A minor theme is the role of some activist “stage moms,” helicopter parents who compete for media attention for their daughters. I ran into two rude moms in the US, who didn’t want their daughters or their friends included in this book. However, adult allies are welcomed, like her parents and helpers at Plant for the Planet.

An important theme is interpersonal relations among activists, referred to as drama, which I heard about from North and Latin Americans. Margolin reports that tension is normal and “I’ve sure had a lot of it in my movement-building experiences,” the most difficult aspect of organizing. At first she acted like a dictator, until disagreements finally surfaced, and she turned to consensus decision-making based on teams with directors, with a final vote on a proposal. The team directors have weekly conference calls. Margolin reports “it’s my job as a leader to support and guide,” so she doesn’t discount the need for leaders like some activists. She learned that community building is half the work of changemaking since infighting weakens the group. This includes letting go of irresponsible members.

Mental health has become an acknowledged issue: Margolin recommends going to a therapist, which has helped her the most of any self-care methods. Her workaholic focus on Zero Hour shut off her emotions and “made me depressed, anxious, grumpy, and tired a lot.” She spent much of her time in high school not paying attention in class, working on emails and such, or missing “tons of school.” Our activists also mentioned having to give up activities they loved and missing school and sleep to do organizing. She too fell victim to comparing herself to other social activists who got more attention on social media, “as a social media addict in a world that pits people against each other for accolades.” This sometimes “makes me feel like crap,” so she wisely tries to limit scrolling time. Margolin suggests taking time off and making time for fun, which for her is watching movies and listening to music, as well as being with friends and family. She usually has on headphones with loud music playing. Margolin frankly discusses problems and tactics facing the youth activists I interviewed.

Egyptian #MeToo Movement

By Declan Walsh

  • Oct. 2, 2020
  • The 22-Year-Old Force Behind Egypt’s Growing #MeToo Movement

CAIRO — Nadeen Ashraf had a burning secret. Earlier this summer, an anonymous Instagram page that named and shamed a man accused of being a notorious sexual harasser at Egypt’s most prestigious university was causing a sensation among her friends. Unknown to them, she was running it.

The experiment started, in a flash of fury, in the dead of night. On July 1 Ms. Ashraf, a 22-year-old philosophy major, was up late to cram for an exam the next morning when she became preoccupied with the fate of a Facebook post that had mysteriously disappeared.

Days earlier, a fellow student at the American University in Cairo had posted a warning on Facebook about a man she said was a sexual predator — a brash, manipulative young man from a rich family said to be harassing and blackmailing women on campus. Now, Ms. Ashraf realized as she stared at her laptop, the post had been deleted without explanation.

Enraged, she set aside her textbooks and created an Instagram page under a pseudonym — @assaultpolice — that identified the man, Ahmed Bassam Zaki, alongside his photo and a list of accusations of misdeeds against women.

Youth organizations form “Count on Us” to protect election

Leaders of Dream Defenders, March for Our Lives, Sunrise Movement, and United We Dream PAC announced Thursday that their youth-led advocacy groups have come together with a new mobilization effort to defeat President Donald Trump in November, “protect the ballot box from corruption, and lead a massive youth strike if Trump tries to steal the election.”

“Our generation is at the forefront of the fight for democracy,” declared Marie Rattigan, a lead organizer with Dream Defenders. “When we see injustice, we fight it. When we see things that need to change, we make it happen and we count on each other to stand up for what’s right.”

“So I’m excited to link arms with these other powerful organizations of young people ahead of the election, because this one will determine so much about our future,” she added. “Together, we’re going to vote and organize like our communities and planet are at stake, because they are.”

The youth organizers’ Count On Us website lays out their “Organize. Vote. Strike.” plan for the ongoing election, explaining: This fall, our generation has the power to defeat Trump and begin to transform this country forever.

Olivia Troye is a hero who stood up to Trump policies

My new hero: Olivia Troye. A lifelong Republican, she quit the White House. She reports Trump said maybe the pandemic is a good thing because “I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.”
She described herself as “a first generation college graduate & the daughter of a Mexican immigrant.”

Sports team protest police violence against Blacks

George Hill is hardly the biggest star in professional basketball. But he was the one who took the lead when a handful of players on the Milwaukee Bucks began talking about the police shooting of Jacob Blake a few days earlier in Wisconsin.

The players, led by Hill, implored their teammates not to play in their playoff game on Wednesday, believing they had a responsibility to make a statement about the how the police treat Black people.

What they envisioned — a one game, on-the-fly protest — instead inspired one of the broadest political statements across sports leagues that the United States had ever seen: walkouts involving hundreds of athletes in professional men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and soccer, as well as one of the world’s biggest tennis stars.

LeBron James, basketball’s most famous athlete, said on Twitter that change “happens with action and needs to happen NOW!” President Trump, who had previously attacked the league and had publicly sparred with James, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, said people were “a little tired of the N.B.A.”

More baseball, hockey and basketball games were called off on Thursday, along with football practices and other events as athletes urged greater focus on conversations about racism and police brutality.

Basketball players, especially women, have been at the forefront of discussions and demonstrations about social injustice for years.


Several N.B.A. and W.N.B.A. players have increased their social justice efforts in recent months. James and other top athletes formed More Than a Vote to protect voting rights and reach out to Black voters. Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors guard, appeared in a video at the Democratic National Convention in support of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the party’s presidential nominee. Renee Montgomery, who plays for the W.N.B.A.’s Atlanta Dream, skipped the season altogether to focus on social justice efforts.

Recently, the entire Atlanta team and others in the league publicly endorsed an opponent of Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Republican from Georgia who is a co-owner of the Dream, because she criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and the W.N.B.A. players’ social activism.