How to Be a Youth Activist

By Isabelle Pierre, age 13 and IndyKids staff

Activism is all about advocating for something you’re passionate about and feel deeply for. Young people in particular have often been at the forefront of movements, because, well, we are the future, and we should have a say in how that future is shaped! 

Learning how to navigate the world from a young age can give you a good head start, and activism can help you develop leadership and collaboration skills. Getting involved with movements that you feel passionately about gives you insight into how politics and societies operate and how you can position yourself within them. Learning about important topics that affect our world is also a real eye-opener and allows you to see things from different perspectives.

Getting started can be very hard, and sometimes you may feel discouraged. So finding a good support network is key. Nohelia, a youth activist from Peru who has been organizing since she was 5 years old, explains in a video to Plan International that this support can come from your like-minded peers, affiliated organizations, or even your parents and teachers. 

“Organizing isn’t about the followers you get, it’s about the change you make in the community.”

Jamie Margolin

“Organizing,” a term used by activists far and wide, is the process of uniting a group and using the power you are building to make positive change. But you might ask: How will I get people to listen to me? Youth to Power author Jamie Margolin recommends being loud, getting involved with protests, having conversations, trying to raise awareness through social media. How many followers you have isn’t a big deal. “Organizing isn’t about the followers you get, it’s about the change you make in the community,” explains Margolin. When telling your story, you want to make sure that you are informing your community and spreading the word in a creative way, whether that’s with art, a song or anything that sparks attention.

Activism, and youth activism in particular, is important because it can help give you a sense of purpose that you will carry with you throughout your life. It can allow you to build a strong sense of community that empowers everyone. And after all, if we don’t do it, who will?

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