12 Remarkable Activist Kids to Follow Right Now

Amelia Edelman

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The upside of the total garbage fire that has been most of 2020 is that 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.

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We’ve rounded up 12 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 dozen kids you’ll want to follow, stat.

Teens4Equality

I’m starting local, because 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 on July 4 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.

Kick-start important conversations about diversity and inclusivity by reading these children’s books.

Launch Gallery: Diverse Children's Books Starring Black & Brown Girls Every Kid Should Read

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