350 Bay Area is made up of a dynamic team of volunteers who not only help do the work, but lead the initiatives as well. One of these awesome activists is Carolyn (center of photo); read about her work with youth and passions below.
I work on a program called Youth Vs. Apocalypse- a climate justice activism program for middle and highs school students. My main job is to support students in taking meaningful and powerful action to fight for their climate rights. I do presentations in schools around the Bay Area, support ongoing student activists clubs on a weekly basis at a number of schools, bring together youth coalitions on specific campaigns, and organize training and support for student led actions.
How have you been supporting the Youth v Gov efforts?
In this case, there were a number of students in SF who have been active in other youth led actions in the past, who decided to plan an action around this. I have simply been an as-needed support person, doing things like making messaging suggestions, providing media training and press lists, and helping connect other local activists with the youth activities. It was great to learn that the youth had chosen to do a street mural, a tool we had shared at Zero Hour this summer and the RISE climate justice action in September. The youth who participated in those actions feel comfortable and empowered to use street murals as part of their activism. I try to offer just what is needed, not to step in too much with my own agenda– it really should be led by youth.
Why are you organizing the Youth Climate Rally on Monday? (Youth Quote)
As young people, we believe in the importance of protecting our planet for future generations. We find the lack of climate action our government is taking to be appalling and we are grateful for the incredible work these 21 amazing young people are doing.
– Grace, student at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (End Quote)
Why 350 Bay Area?
350 Bay Area has been amazingly welcoming and supportive of youth leadership. Rather than imposing views on what young people “should” be learning, they have supported youth in taking action now, getting their voices into the discussion, and being bold.
What’s your favorite 350 Bay Area story?
Probably the time when we brought 200 sixth graders with handmade drums and flags to the EPA listening session on the “repeal” of the Clean Power Plan. Specifically, it was approaching a formal press conference on the steps of city hall, with the hundreds of drumming and chanting 11 and 12 year olds, and watching how the whole place got silent as the kids approached, accidentally marched past the press conference, and then returned, to completely steal the show with their heartfelt speeches on the podium.
I have worked in youth development programs in Oakland since graduating from SF State in 2003. Besides working at 350 Bay Area, I am the mom of a 4 and a 7 year old, and teach poetry in an after school program in East Oakland.