Advice For A Teen Activist

I received an email from a 14 year old girl, heartbroken by the election. This particular girl goes to private school with wealthy kids, but still feels powerless & scared. She asked: "Please let me know how I can help fight for the women of this country." I attempted to offer safe, constructive steps. Grateful for her passion 🙏
  1. Start a feminist group at your school
    Discuss the issues that upset you in your own community and how you can shift them. Bring lists of grievances to your teachers and principals. It all starts in YOUR community. With your group, read - biographies of remarkable women like Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Sojourner Truth. Discuss what made these women's lives impactful. In what ways did they take risks and stand up against hate?
  2. Brainstorm
    Together, come up with 10 ideas for helping teens with less- trans youth, kids from the inner city, differently abled or otherwise vulnerable people your age. Raise money and lend your time. Pick an item- like socks- and decide you won't rest until every trans teen at your local LGBTQ youth shelter has some. Or make sure every girl at the Muslim family services center has books to read that depict girls like her in a positive, hopeful way.
  3. Change Language
    It all starts with you. Do you hear kids at school using words you know are offensive and people are afraid to stop them? Spread the (better) word. Make sure they know that slurs - or even less obviously "bad" words, just simple insults to appearance etc- won't be tolerated and don't make you cool.
  4. Write It Out
    Use the school newspaper or newsletter as a place to express your shared beliefs, or to host healthy debate.
  5. You are the wall- a wall of girls! (And boys too, if they act cool enough 😍)
    Make it clear that you are stronger in numbers and as a group you won't accept bullying behaviors that mimic the ones Trump and the people in his incoming administration perpetuate.
  6. Find a sister school
    Somewhere far away- Afghanistan? Ethiopia? Connect as pen pals, sharing culture and ideas. We grow more empathic by embracing difference. Find out what you have a lot of at your school that they need a little of at their school. Give that resource (pencils? lined paper? tampons?) In doing so, inspire other kids to share. To really work, feminism has to be global.
  7. Believe
    Believe that you, as a fourteen year old girl, are a tool for revolution.