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Minnesota is Home to Many Young People of Color at the Forefront of Environmental Activism

Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, and the Flint, Michigan water pollution. These are just a few examples of how environmental crises disproportionately affect communities of color.  A 2014 study done by the University of Minnesota confirmed that people of color are 38 percent more likely to be exposed to air pollutants from climate-warming cars, construction sites, and industrial sources like coal plants, causing asthma and other breathing related health issues.

September’s global Youth Climate Strike was a pinnacle moment where many witnessed the mass gathering of Black, Indigenous, and people of color demanding justice for their communities and generation. Many young speakers expressed how they are “tired” of feeling unheard, and one sign read “I’m skipping my lessons to teach you one.” We have found that Minnesota is a microcosm for some of the world’s youngest climate justice leaders. Move Minnesota was fortunate to capture many of the sentiments shared during the strike at our State Capitol. Watch below to hear more.

Isra Hirsi

“I had the ability to create my own space and define what society wants an environmentalist to look like. My existence in the climate justice movement in itself is an act of resistance.”

Juwaria Jama

“I come from a place where our voices aren’t heard, and I’m tired of feeling this way.”

International Indigenous Youth Council – Twin Cities Chapter 

“We are showing them that we must protect mother earth at all costs…”

Read more about Minnesota’s emerging young leaders of color who are featured on the City Page’s People Issue.