The use of direct and noticeable actions using vigorous campaigning to achieve a change, usually a political or social one. This is the definition of activism given by the Cambridge dictionary. If this definition is analyzed deeply, some of us, teens, might wonder if we could really be the motor of such drastic changes in our society and political arena. The answer is ‘yes.’ Teen activists have done amazing things by choice around the world. Our history and our present can testify the positive results achieve in different parts of the world thanks to teen activism. Teen are doing what is right. They do not ignore what needs to be fixed in the world despite the obstacles that stand in their way. Teenagers around the world have raised their voices without fear for what they consider is wrong in our societies becoming strong agents of change.
Young students, most of them between 12 and 17 years old, started a massive campaign against Apartheid, a system the was perpetuating racial segregation in South Africa. In the 1980’s, the black majority of students, of what it will be here in USA middle and high school, started a protest against the educational system stablished by the nationalist apartheid regimen. They wanted access to a better education, and they wanted the education to be in English not in African. The black students began their meeting in small churches until they formed large groups across the whole country. Once they were better organized, they went to the streets and began national protests demanding better education and opportunities for the black students “We agree that Apartheid is immoral, and so we established what we called Actions Against Apartheid,” McKinley said. All these teenagers played a fundamental role to bring down an oppressive government. And many of them payed with their lives. These kids were a clear example that teens activism can definitely change the course of history in a nation. Lindsay Graham.
That was also the case of Malala Yousafzai. This Pakistan girl was shot by the terrorist group of the Taliban because she stood up for her right to receive an education. Malala survived, and know she lives as a refugee in England. She has become an influential voice that advocates for the right the girls to have an education in the Middle East countries and around the world. Being only 17 years old, Malala received the Nobel Peace Prize on October 10th 2014. She is the youngest person in receiving such honor. Now she is 22 years old and continue working for the right of all children to education. Sarah Jackson and Jessie Kirk.
Teens here in California and across our nation are fighting homophobia, racism, poverty, and advocating for gun control. The shootings in our schools have being happening more and more often. The most recent shooting took place this past Thursday in Saugus High School in Santa Clarita. Teenage understand that they most do something to protect their lives. They want to create a safe learning environment in their school and communities where they can socialize and grow. The American teen are not taking this grief quietly, they are speaking out and calling for political changes.
These teenage wants to be agents of change since the adults in charge of their protection have failed in doing their job. They want to end the horrible massacres that are taking place in our schools and around our nation.
Zion Kelly, a 17 years old high school student, lost his twin brother as a result of these random shootings. Eight months on since his brother was killed, Zion remembers Zaire as “goofy and always cracking a joke. He was the center of our friend group.” After his brother's death, Zion was determined to change this terrible reality that many students and his family had experienced due to poor legislation that regulate the use of guns in the USA. He felt inspired, and he invited some survivors from the past Parkland shooting where 17 students were killed to speak at his school. Zion also joined these survivors at March for Our Lives to demand legislative gun control in front of the US Capitol building on March 24th of this current year. He is also advocating for a city ordinance, named after his brother to expand gun-free zones to create safe passages for students travelling to and from school in a safe way. Cheree Franco
All these young protesters are giving up their free time to speak at rallies, in front of congressional representatives to put an end to the violence that students are experiencing in their school. Teens understand that they are a powerful source of change, and they are using this power to improve the world around them. They are shaping their destiny and the destiny of this nation at the same time.
In conclusion, all the teen who raised their voices to bring down the Apartheid in South Africa, the one who are fighting for more gun control legislations like Zion in USA, the one demanding education for all like Malala, are agents of change who are shaping our world into a better place. Teenager in the USA and around the world will continue their fight until they are sure the cause has been accomplished, and they are living in a more egalitarian and safer world for all.
- Graham, Lindsay. “Students protest against Apartheid are part of a long history of activism.” The Daily Tar Heel. 28 November 2016. www.dailytarheel.com/article/2016/11/student-protests-against-apartheid-are-part-of-a-long-history-of-activism
- Stack, Liam. “Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Starts at Oxford.” The New York Times. 10 October 2017. http://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/world/europe/malala-yousafzai-oxford.html.
- Jackson, Sarah and Kirk, Jessie. “Supporting education and activism on Malala Day” Womankind.org 09 July 2013 https://www.womankind.org.uk/blog/detail/our-blog/2013/07/09/supporting-education-and-activism-on-malala-day
- Segalov, Michael. “Teenage activists are shaping our future.” Huck 65-The Coming of Age Issue. 27 August 2019 http://www.huckmag.com/perspectives/activism-2/teenage-activists-protest-worldwide-agents-of-change/