Teen activists from Johannesburg to Los Angeles are striking today to demand the world take action on climate change. Among the organizers is Isra Hirsi, co-founder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike and daughter of Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
As Vice writes in a recent profile of the 16-year-old organizer, Isra helped launch the U.S. Youth Climate Strike the same month her mother took office. And though she feels like she came to climate issues “really really late in the game” (at the age of 15, she says), Isra is drawn to the issue for how it disproportionately affects communities of color. However, it is persistently framed as a “white [issue]” she noted.
White-led environmental groups helped contribute to that belief, she said. “[They’re] talking about how much they love grass and their lakes—I can’t connect with you on that.”
It wasn’t until the last year that her feelings began to change.
At the time, climate activism didn’t feel that important to her, relative to other issues—partially because it was never framed that way. “Gun control and climate change are [considered] white issues,” she said when I met with her in Minneapolis, “Black lives, police brutality, whatever, are not.”