It is truly inspiring in this age of so many young people who are apathetic and feel entitled to the best without effort to see some who think of others and their needs. There are some young people who care about issues that will matter long after they are grown. This world is better because some stood up to touch opposition to fight for their beliefs, sometimes at great personal risk. It takes courage for anyone to stand out, especially children and teenagers. Yet, here are some inspiring youngsters who have done just that. Some were empathetic to what they felt were injustices to people they knew only casually or not at all. Others fought to make the world better for themselves and their family and friends. Still others felt strongly enough about the environment and the earth they live on to make their voices heard to advocate protecting it.
List of Top 10 Young Activists in The World in 2017
10. MADISON KIMREY
When a panel in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made a decision to overturn North Carolina’s voter identification law, it included reinstatement of voter preregistration for 16 and 17-year-olds. This was intended to encourage young people to get involved in the political system. When this was being considered, a 12-year-old from Burlington, North Carolina started a petition called the MoveOn petition, to reinstate voter registration for the younger voters. When she asked to meet with Governor Pat McCrory, he called her request “ridiculous”, even though she had obtained 12,000 signatures. At that point, she organized a rally and her speech there got national attention. This amazing young girl has her own blog, which covers her interests including voting rights and women’s rights.
9. JONAS CORONA
When he was only four years old, Jonas began volunteering by feeding homeless people on Skid Row. At 6, he started his own organization to help homeless children. He believes that there are some things that no child should have to live without, and his organization works to give these things to as many children as possible. He has helped more than 30,000 people with basic necessities such as food and clothing. He says “Every child should look in the mirror and love what they see.”
8. LIZA YAROSHENKO
When she was six, Liza’s mother died of AIDS, and she herself carries the HIV virus. Now she is 15 and she speaks up for understanding of HIV and affordable treatment. She is vocal about healthcare laws that discriminate against those with HIV and AIDs. She lives Ukraine where there is an AIDS epidemic but most people do not have access to drugs to make their lives more normal. When her government was blocking major funding for AIDS and HIV treatment, she went to Ukraine’s parliament and spoke up for this funding. When she was first diagnosed with HIV, she was one of the first in Ukraine to receive anti-retroviral drugs, and she has been well since then, so she knows the power of these drugs, but she has seen the misery caused by the lack of them. That is why she crusades.
7. ETHAN MCNAMEE
In 2009, when he was nine years old, Ethan McNamee realized that his lesbian neighbors did not have the legal right to get married, so he organized a gay marriage rally at the Colorado State Capitol building to protest for the legalization of gay marriage in his state. He told the crowd there, “I believe I am doing the right thing. I hope this rally will make an impact and let our voices be heard.”
6. MALALA YOUSAFZAI
Malala is from Pakistan. She is now 16 but has been speaking out for education and women’s rights since . she was 11. Her father, who is an educational advocate, encouraged her to fight the Taliban’s banning many girls from attending school. In 2012, a Taliban bullet found its target, entering her head, going through her neck, and stopping in her shoulder. She survived somehow and is still speaking out. In 2013. she addressed the United Nations , and she has met with world leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II and President Barack Obama. She is one amongst the Top 10 Young Activists in The World 2017.
5. MOHAMMED MANAN ANSARI
At eight years old,Mohammed started mica mining, spending eight hours a day on the job in an obscure Indian town. His family had 10 children and his job helped supplement their income. More than half of the children in his village worked in the mica mines, as did their parents. When a child’s rights activist convinced his parents to let him stop working and send him away to school, he tasted a different life and visited the other villagers often to try to convince them to let their children attend school, too. Now he advocates for children’s rights and has spoken to international groups about it.
4. XIUHTEZCATL MARTINEZ
Now 13, this Colorado girl has been speaking out about the environmental issues since she was 6. She is now the youth director of Earth Guardians, a nonprofit group who advocates protecting the earth and its atmosphere. Her Aztec background has instilled in her that all life is sacred and needs to be protected.
3. PANG PANG
At the age of six, this Chinese boy stood up against officials when his adoptive grandparents were taken away after they organized a rally against corrupt government officials. Pang Pang’s adoptive mother told the reporters that he really missed his adoptive grandparents. She took him with her to the Political and Legislative Affairs office and Pang Pang went to the office of the Party Secretary, sat down and yelled for the Party Secretary to release his grandmother.
2. ASEAN JOHNSON
When Chicago Public Schools announced they were planning on shutting down 50 schools, this 9-year-old boy stood up for his school and public education. He gave several speeches, targeting Mayor Rahm Emanuel and calling for reconsideration and a look at resources. Partly because of his work, his school was not closed down. He recently spoke at the March on Washington, during the 50th anniversary of the original march and Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” speech. He spoke to the crowd and encouraged them to keep King’s dream alive.
1. KATHERINE FIGUEROA
When her parents who were undocumented immigrants, were arrested in 2009 for using false documents to work, 9-year-old Katherine pleaded for her parents to be released in a video filmed by a grassroots human rights organization. Three months after their arrest, they were released. Their immigration cases and deportations still hung in the balance, so for four years, she marched to draw attention to their case and immigration awareness. This year a judge granted a motion to close her parents’ cases, but she continues to speak out about immigration laws.
So, these above are the Top 10 Young Activists in The World 2017. These are only some of the amazing young people who have decided to make a difference in their world. There are others and they deserve our admiration. Even if we do not agree with their particular cause, we need future adults with passion for a healthy environment, justice for all people, education, and social issues. If you meet such a young person, please give them your encouragement and support.