YOUth In Power - Isra Hirsi

Image:    Heather Sten

Image: Heather Sten

Youth hold all the power in the world. We are the ones that have the ability to change the world. Our age, our existence, and our drive is what’s going to push the world in the right direction.
— Isra Hirsi

Isra Hirsi is a one woman revolution - at 16-year-old she is one of the three co-founders of the US Climate Strike, empowering young people all across America to take the future in their own hands and fight for climate action.

My name is Isra Hirsi, I am 16 years old from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was able to get connected to the climate strikes through Instagram. Haven Coleman actually contacted me with the idea to bring the deep strikes to the US and I ended up helping her. From there we added another co-founder and organized the first deep strike in the US. One of the most rewarding things about being an exec director is being able to help empower organizers across the country.

Image:    Adam Iverson

Image: Adam Iverson

The Democratic National Committee recently rejected a proposal to hold a climate debate, despite months of demands from activists and environmentalists - Isra explains why having a climate debate is crucial for the upcoming 2020 election.

A climate debate is crucial for the upcoming US elections because the topic of climate change isn't just animals or trees but our livelihood. Its important to prioritize an issue that is so intersectional and overlaps with any other issue in the mainstream conversation right now. But also its important to hear the candidates discussing things like environmental racism on a national stage and see what their policies do for black and brown folks.

The impacts of change are and will continue to disproportionately affect communities of color, and yet Black and Brown voices are often ignored in this conversation - Isra works towards recognizing her privilege and leveraging it to create space for other POC climate activists.

The climate crisis is already impacting people of color. Not even within the US but across the world. Black and brown people are dying because of the ignorance of the issue. While I am creating space for other black climate advocates, I myself even need to continue working towards every voice [being] heard. And every day I am learning and growing on how to step back and recognize my own privilege in some spaces.

Other can get involved in the work that Isra is doing through visiting the US Youth Climate Strike’s website today!

If you'd like to get involved w/ USYCS, go to our website at youthclimatestrikeus.org/get-involved, find your state or email the email listed!!!

Image:    Grand Forks Herald

Image: Grand Forks Herald

Hirsi says that being the daughter of US congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, doesn’t change her drive and motivation to create change, but rather how people perceive her. She explains that while that connection has given her many opportunities, ultimately her work and her mother’s work are separate.

Being the daughter of a congresswoman doesn't change my work but more how people perceive me. There are the preconceived notions of me that are negative solely because of the supposed "power" I have. While it gives me more opportunities, the work that I do is because of me. My mother's work and my work are separate, but my love for changing the world probably came from my parents.

In a political and social climate where it becomes quite easy to lose hope, Isra says that young people keep her hopeful for the future.

Seeing all the young people wanting to take action across the country for not just one cause but many really shows me we have a chance for a real future.

Isra defies barriers by being in spaces that are traditionally male-dominated and disrupting them by raising her voice for change.

My existence is defiant. Me being in these spaces as a Black Muslim woman to many people is a form of defiance. Another way I have been defiant is by making sure that I work towards disrupting white-dominated spaces.

Maheen IqbalComment