by Ari Robin McKenna
Kaley Duong and Alexis Mburu knew there was something wrong with school, only it took them a while to find the right words, to know how to phrase them, and to channel their innate leadership ability. In middle school, both joined racial equity clubs that began to illuminate aspects of the issues they were seeing or facing. In high school, both began speaking out more frequently, organizing, and building community around taking action to address the ills of a system they were still in. During the 2021–2022 school year — when Duong was a senior and Mburu a junior — both were unstoppable, working tirelessly for racial equity in schools while organizing, participating in, and speaking at events that impacted thousands.
Continue reading How Kaley Duong and Alexis Mburu Became Award-Winning Youth Activists
by Ari Robin McKenna, photos by Chloe Collyer
Recently, in Mx. Sam Cristol’s ethnic studies class at Cleveland STEM High School, students were discussing the effects of COVID-19 in Seattle. “We started with the idea of all of us being frustrated with the way that these issues are being handled — and not handled, for that matter,” said student organizer Nya Spivey, “and then we were like, well … what as students can we do?” Spivey and classmates Mia Dabney and Ava May decided they could do something, and so they did.
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Student Voices, Demands From Last Friday’s COVID-19 Walkout
by Ronnie Estoque
Access to affordable, healthy, culturally relevant foods in schools has always been a focus point for FEEST, an organization led by Youth of Color in South Seattle and south King County. Recently, FEEST has reassessed the curriculum they’ve taught their students in Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Highline Public Schools (HPS) to help improve their organizing skills. Both SPS and HPS have guaranteed that their school food will be free to all students for the remainder of the 2021–2022 academic term.
“We want school lunch to be free for everyone K–12, indefinitely,” said Cece Flanagan, a community organizing and training manager at FEEST. “We are also ensuring that youths’ basic needs are being met by offering free groceries and meal deliveries, loaning technology to connect to school/virtual meetings, ensuring youth [organizers] are connected to mental health supports, and paying them a competitive wage.”
Continue reading FEEST Empowers Students to Action Across Seattle
by Alex Garland
On Thursday, Nov. 11, more than 15 youth activists ranging in ages from 7 to 15 years old took their demands directly to Amazon as they held a “climate teach-in” and delivered a report card on Amazon’s pledge to reduce the pollution from shipping by 2040. The young activists from Climate Action Families Seattle (CAFS) gathered outside the Amazon Headquarters in the Day 1 building in front of the Amazon Spheres. As each activist came to the microphone, they took turns reporting on Amazon’s climate goals and current profits and how those conflict with the reality of climate change.
These youth demanded that Amazon step up and show leadership around promises to end maritime shipping pollution. Their demands included that Amazon commit to the Ship It Zero plan, wherein Amazon would transition to 100% zero-emission ships by 2030. The cargo ships used by Amazon currently use bunker fuel, a high sulphur fuel that leads to increased CO2 emissions. The activists are asking Amazon to switch to marine fuel, which burns cleaner and costs more.
Continue reading Youth Activists Demand Amazon Do More to Combat Climate Change
by Chamidae Ford
On the cusp of their one-year anniversary, the Emerald Youth Organizing Collective (EYOC) has become one of the foremost youth collectives in the area, having recently endorsed Nikkita Oliver for Seattle City Council.
EYOC began to take shape during Kirsten Harris-Talley’s campaign last summer. The founder, Andrew Hong, was working as a field organizer and went on to start the campaign’s youth team.
“After Kirsten won the election, we thought we had a good structure and continued interest so we rebranded to Emerald Youth Organizing Collective a few months later,” Hong said. “We continued doing work mostly in the state Legislature but we also did some community work too, and now we’re rapidly expanding the projects we do.”
Continue reading Youth Groups Host Mutual Aid Event for Rainier Beach