These Teens Are Making Activism Part of Their Daily Lives Post-Women’s March
A common criticism of Women’s March participants â€” especially younger ones â€” was that they just did it for the selfies.
But in reality, teens are making activism part of their daily lives. This wasn’t just true on January 21st, but before and after the march, too.
Plus, their activism is going worldwide. Women and men in cities like Montreal, Paris, London and Sydney marched in â€œsisterhoodâ€ with the marches in Washington. Over a million people participated â€” and they’re still participating.
So with Womenâ€™s History Month approaching in March, I spoke with a diverse group of teens about the future of the feminist movement and how the march impacted them.
Naomi, a 16-year-old from DC, decorated her t-shirt with spray paint writing the words â€œSisterhood is Powerful.â€ She believes that the march gave a voice to the majority of women who rarely are heard but who have much to say.
Chloe is from Australia. This 15-year-old fundraised for Days for Girls, a group which helps educate teens and women across the globe on proper health and hygiene.
“Today, we made history,” Chloe says. “Whether it be marching, fundraising, protesting; we now need to keep that momentum going and do something to change the world. It is truly up to us!â€
A 16-year-old from Boston, Nora is passionate that we must â€œenlighten and empower people on the issues that women face.â€ In response to the March, Nora and her friends are sending directed letters to politicians to voice their concerns over issues in their community.
In Chicago, mother and daughter Patti and Emma marched in solidarity with hundreds of others to defend their â€œconstitutional rightsâ€ and to support the worldwide sister marches. Patti hoped Emma would learn that women have great power especially when they act together. Patti wants Emma to be an â€œactivist for anything that will affect her life and to help others who may not be able to act,â€ she said.
Emma is now participating in diversity fairs and has had several group discussions with fellow students to actively voice their opinions about current issues. These school functions are a small but vital starting point for teens to impact their community.
Hayley, an 18-year-old Londoner, started a club called Artists for Social Change and at the same time is working on a feminist art gallery. Haley wants to continue the momentum of the march with ongoing discussions of feminism. She advocates that all teens should be conscious that they are â€œnot alienating or belittling those who have different beliefs.â€
Hayleyâ€™s club fosters open dialogue in a â€œpeaceful and respectful way,â€ which provides students a safe forum to air their thoughts and concerns. Next year, Hayley starts college. She is very excited to expand the club to university students.
â€œGoing forward, activism and awareness by my generation will be crucial,â€ says Hayley.
The March wasnâ€™t limited to girls and women. Josh, a 13-year-old boy from London, walked with his father. Josh lost his mother to cancer three years ago so it was important for him to show support for womenâ€™s rights.
â€œI didnâ€™t know what to expect,” Josh said, “but I was really moved. To be surrounded by so many passionate people was incredible. I know my mom would be proud of me.â€
Hayden, a 17-year-old from Los Angeles, is concerned that the United States is facing serious issues that deserve more attention than random tweets or posts on social media. Hayden wants to mobilize fellow teens to have their voices heard, whether it be a march or some other method of nonviolent protest.
â€œThis generation must answer this call to action,â€ says Hayden.
These teens are just an example of the millions of people across the globe accepting a newfound call to action. The march impacted so many. With International Women’s Day on March 8th and Womenâ€™s History Month all of March, teens have the opportunity to continue to raise important issues. Hashtags like #GirlslikeUs, #BeBoldForChange and #wmnhist are being used by teens to show their support for meaningful causes. Another way to participate is to visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ and http://womenshistorymonth.gov/.
See what women and teens in your area have planned for the month of March and check out ideas on how you can plan your own event. Volunteer. Recruit. Visit your member of Congress. Send letters and postcards. Support progressive candidates. Use Womenâ€™s history month as an opportunity to keep moving forward. Continue to be bold and refuse to go silently into the night. Be heard. Be loud. Teens can make a difference and every voice counts!