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Youths Step Up to the Global Challenge


Fresh Hope for a Troubled Planet by Linda Sechrist R


ecognizing that it might be too late by the time they are older, many young people are already acting


collectively and across partisan aisles on everything from climate change and the environment to gun control, gender equal- ity, social justice, education and politics.


Initiatives include creating solutions


for the global water crisis, serving as global ambassadors, training for public speaking and leadership, organizing youth summits, marching for causes, planting a trillion trees, participating in United Nations (UN) programs, inventing a new


If you want to be an optimist about America today, stand on your head, because our country today looks so much better from the bottom up than the top down.


~Thomas L. Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist


educational system, lobbying legislators and seeking political office.


Girl Up! Angie Jiang, a 2018 graduate of Madison West High School, in Wisconsin, is a first-year student at Columbia University, in New York. Deploying her social impact and debating skills, this Chinese-American woman articulates her opinions on sustain- ability, environmental awareness, immi- gration and gender issues in public radio interviews and lobbies for policy changes in Washington, D.C. She’s one of 80,000 girls in some 100


countries that have been trained by the UN Foundation’s Girl Up initiative to help lead the movement for gender equality; Jiang cur- rently serves as its 2017-2018 teen advisor. “Within our current political climate, it is more important than ever to use your voice, no matter who you are, where you live and whatever you identify as,” says Jiang.


Running for Governor Ethan Sonneborn, 13, has a comprehensive policy platform and a spot on the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary ballot in Vermont. In an early campaign speech, the Bristol resident and Mt. Abraham Union Middle/High School student smiled at the crowd’s applause for his message: “To every- one here today, know this. We are America’s future… So let’s not be afraid to shape it… We must be the voices of a generation, leaders for others and advocates for our- selves. Why shouldn’t we be the ones to end worldwide hunger, to make a breakthrough in medical science, to protect world peace or to put people on another planet? We are the


October 2018 27


Riccardo Piccinini/Shutterstock.com


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