Day of the Girl: I'm a 17-year-old who marches for climate justice originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
For Day of the Girl, October 11, 2019, Girls Who Code, a non-profit devoted to closing the gender gap in technology, is organizing an all-digital "march" aimed at uniting women, girls and allies around the globe. Led by girls, the #MarchForSisterhood invites people to share videos of themselves on social media about the causes that are important to them. Girls Who Code hopes these posts will comprise the largest online march in history.
A group of 100 diverse, young women, dubbed Team Sisterhood, are leading the movement on issues that they are passionate about from immigration to climate change and more. Here, Gen Z activist Jamie Margolin shares in her own words what it's like to be a leading activist, why she is marching and how she finds strength in a sisterhood of women.
My name is Jamie Margolin and I’m a 17-year-old climate justice activist from Seattle, Washington. Right now, I should be focusing on my college applications. The deadlines are looming over my head and I should be preparing for my future. Honestly though, I’ve been so busy fighting for our generation to even have a future that I’ve barely had the time.
I have been fighting for climate justice since the end of 2016. I started out as a community organizer for a local Seattle youth climate action organization called "Plant for the Planet" and, soon after, I joined a lawsuit called Piper vs. Washington State. Along with 12 other plaintiffs, we sued the government of Washington for denying my generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and for denying our rights, according to the Washington State Constitution, to the natural resources of our state.
Through these experiences, I discovered the great power that young women have. We inspire each other and I know we can create real change together. That’s why, in the summer of 2017, I started an international organization called Zero Hour. Along with young women all over the country, we set out to organize mass mobilizations of youth activists demanding urgent action for our rights and futures. We are a sisterhood.
On July 21, 2018, after an entire year of nonstop organizing, and studying full time in high school, the young women of Zero Hour marched in the pouring rain on Washington and on 25 cities around the world. We demanded urgent climate action from you and all our leaders. We weren’t asking nicely then, and we sure as hell are not asking nicely now. We have been unwavering in our fight for change and it’s time the older generations work with us.
Our work doesn’t stop there. This past summer, we put on the Youth Climate Summit in Miami, which taught over 350 young people about the climate crisis and how to take action. All year, we have been carrying out a campaign called #GetToTheRoots, where we have trained 700 young people to serve as climate justice ambassadors in their communities and spread the word about the systems of oppression - like patriarchy - that are the root of the climate crisis.
The young women I work with push me forward. We have been working nonstop and honestly, the lack of action from the adults around us is almost enough to leave us hopeless. What has happened to our planet is unacceptable. But as a group, we won’t back down. We work together and we fight together because we know this is the only way we can have the future we deserve. We will change the world because we must save our world.
Zero Hour is led almost entirely by young women, and as a group, we are standing up to the climate crisis. I always joke that climate change is a man-made problem, which is why women should rule the world. But let's be honest, it's not really a joke.