The nineties and naughties introduced us to the age of the digital, a new wave of technologies flooded the Western market producing an even further gap between the West and the rest of our world. Not only were we gifted with Tickle-Me-Elmo, but also the rising popularity of charity singles such as Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’. Despite the continued separation between developed and developing countries, the nineties and noughties also gave life to a generation whose activism has sprouted from having an awareness of privilege. Here I have compiled a short list of incredible young people, who were merely a cluster of energy when Nokia released their first phone. Follow their activism as it continues to evolve.
Amika George; born 1999
The fight against period poverty is likely a corner of feminist activism that you may not be familiar with; not only is it happening across seas but within our own realms of the UK women and young girls are left to choose between a packet of sanitary products or food. In her TedTalk hosted in Covent Garden (which I would highly recommend giving a full watch), Amika explains that there are “girls as young as 10 years old, or 18 like [herself], routinely missing school for the simple fact that they couldn’t afford sanitary products,”.
We need to be vocal about this, yet very few are. Amika George, currently 20 years old, stands as pillar of her generation and the activism that is enclosed within kids of the 90/00’s. Her words are delivered with such humility and power, her lowly spirit animates the activism within her peers to demand change!
Beginning the #FreePeriods movement, George's primary focus is on destigmatising the menstrual cycle, as well as demanding the government take responsibility and provide sanitary products for all women and girls in need. March 2019 saw Phillip Hammond announce that schools across the United Kingdom would receive funding to provide period products free of charge, however Amika's fight isn't over. She continues to work against the pejorative language systems that surround periods and menstruation as well as redefining what womanhood is.
Being listed in Time Magazine's 25 Most Influential Teenagers in 2018, Amika George hasn't stopped with her debut book 'Make it Happen: How to be an Activist' being published in September of this year.
Get involved here
(Image: Vogue UK)
Natasha; born 1999 & Aima; born 2001
We have witness the brutalisation and countless murders of black people in the United States of America, yet it is not enough to have an awareness of the racial injustices across the pond. Both Natasha, currently 21 years old, and Aima, 18, created All Black Lives UK, a Black Lives Matter inspired youth campaign (though it must be highlighted that there is no affiliation between the two organisation). All Black Lives UK campaign for the most vulnerable black people in the UK currently and they continued to march and protest weekly despite the media's loss of interest and lack of coverage anymore. They are two of our generations finest, refusing to give up when the social media algorithms stopped highlighting their posts. These two inspiring black women will be the role models for future generations to come, their confidence and unwavering support for black lives will echo across the cosmos for eternity.
(Image: Anselm Ebulue from The Guardian)
Their stories are an inspiration, each with their own individual experiences that they will never hesitate to share for the meaning of activism and revolution. The death of George Floyd is all too traumatic for some black people, it struck fear across the world that racism is definitely not over and has woven it's way into the systems that run our society. From this, Natasha and Aima utilised their Twitter followers to build a community of young activists, all with a similar mindset. Both were still studying towards their undergraduate degrees when All Black Lives UK began, these girls were writing their final year assignments whilst watching their movement tear down Colston's stone monument. Not only are activists but further inspire through their art, Aima is a prolific photographer which can be viewed on her Twitter account, and Natasha finds her solace in poetry and performance.
Akin to Campfire Convention, Natasha and Aima see a future that thrives off community, culture and acceptance. It is of upmost importance to commit to the idea that activism should amplify voices and make a change, Natasha and Aima vow to continue their inspiring battle until justice is achieved.
Support All Black Lives UK here
Autumn Peltier; born 2004
She is the water warrior. The cool spring lake that seems to materialise out of no where from the sunbaked sand. At merely 13 years old, Peltier stood before a council at the Assembly of First Nations, holding a copper water pot. In that moment, the spirits of her ancestors paused time and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listened. She is a member of Wikwemikong First Nation in northern Ontario, where she bases her activism. Notably, Peltier met with Trudeau when he had endorsed several pipelines that would infect the water of 100 indigenous peoples, leaving them with only the option to boil the water first to consume it. This occurred only 4 years ago, and though now Autumn Peltier is only in 10th Grade she isn't afraid to continue her battle. April 2019 saw Peltier named the chief water commissioner by the Anishinabek Nation, a role that was previously held by her Great Aunt.
After earning her accolade and place in history, she stands now as a 15 year old young woman who struggles with the injustices that come when one takes on the role of being an activist. The nature of fighting injustice is one of a rocky path, the fruit of enlightenment stands so close yet just out of grasp. Many young people fear the retaliation from peers when speaking out, Peltier now not only continues to advocate for clean water internationally, but also for teens who are anxious to protest.
(Image: Irevaphotography Linda Roy of Wiikwemkoong Unceded First Nation, Manitoulin Island Ontario)
Leaders like Autumn Peltier are necessary in our current Western world, as we forget the culture of our ancestors. Autumn further crusades for indigenous feminism, as she reinstates all the voices of her community and culture as she continues to challenge the injustices that surround women. The struggle for justice is an ongoing pursuit, it prevails any government or law. Autumn Peltier is a girl, brought to this world in modern Canada who continues to fight for what her ancestors once did; harmony.
I would like to open this list to the comments section, or rather into more than a simple article. Take a moment to appreciate the young people in your life, their vigour and excitement for life and manifest positivity for your youthful muses. The youth are guided through their own unique spiritual awareness, one that has grown in a time of abstract and confusing divisions. The age of Aquarius is beginning in it's smallest stages, yet the newest year will bring it into full fluctuation, an age where humanity will once again take control of our beautiful Earth, our youth will lead the way.