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Women’s History Month Spotlight: Jamie Margolin

At only nineteen years old, Colombian-American climate activist Jamie Margolin has already accomplished more than some adults do in their lifetime. Based in Seattle, Washington, Jamie has always felt a connection to the planet, especially the natural beauty and biodiversity of her home in the Pacific Northwest. In her freshman year of high school, Jamie first discovered her passion for activism while volunteering at Seattle’s Democratic headquarters during the 2016 presidential election - something she fell upon out of frustration at former President Trump and the harm she knew he would bring to the country and the climate. As her familiarity with policy and legislation grew, so did her confidence to raise her voice against the many political injustices in addressing climate change that threaten the planet she loves so much. Fed up with the government’s inability to protect it against both the existing and impending dangers of the climate crisis for her and future generations, Jamie co-founded Zero Hour alongside fellow teenage activists Nadia Nazar, Madelaine Tew, and Zanagee Artis. Zero Hour, an international youth climate justice organization, connects young activists from around the world in saying “enough is enough” and urges the message to national leaders that now is the time for action over inaction and outcry over silence. On July 21, 2018, Jamie and other Zero Hour members led the first-ever Youth Climate March in Washington DC, showing to the whole world that youth voices do have the power to change the course of the future. Outside of Zero Hour, Jamie consistently participates in climate protests, including once in front of Congress with activist Greta Thunberg. She also serves as a plaintiff on Our Children’s Trusts’ Youth v. Gov - a lawsuit against the State of Washington for exacerbating climate change and thus denying our generation’s constitutional rights to a livable environment. Jamie and the twelve other plaintiffs are calling for a climate recovery plan that they hope will set a model for the rest of the nation and the world.

In her 2020 debut book Youth to Power: Your Voices and How to Use It, Jamie shares her journey and experiences as an activist through a compilation of personal anecdotes and glimpses into her day-to-day life as a student juggling the neverending work hours of politics and advocacy. In hopes of sharing with others the toolkit she wished she had before pursuing her activism career, Jamie fills Youth to Power with an abundance of tips and advice for aspiring youth activists, ranging from topics like lobbying, media engagement, civil disobedience, and even managing mental health on top of it all. In an interview with The New York Times, Jamie explains, “No one gives you an organizing guide of how to raise thousands of dollars, how to get people on board, how to mobilize. There was no help. It was just me floundering around with Dory-like determination, like, ‘Just keep swimming.” Youth to Power is exactly that guide, and young people seeking a mentor in how to enter the activism world will find that through Jamie.

In addition, the book features interviews with youth activists across various social and environmental justice movements, including Black Lives Matter, #NoDakotaAccessPipeline, and LGBTQ+ rights, and emphasizes the importance of unity and collaboration between them all. As a Latina Jewish lesbian, Jamie herself is a true embodiment of the intersectionality of the climate justice movement. Jamie continues to use her voice to promote diversity and inclusion in the movement, as the most marginalized and oppressed communities of the world are forced to bear the brunt of the climate crisis and its disastrous effects. Jamie is currently enrolled in New York University where she is pursuing a Film and TV Major with which she plans to create more queer representation in the media and one day become an animator for Walt Disney Studios - all on top of her activism career, of course. If you want to learn more about Jamie and how you can become an activist, you can buy her book nearly anywhere, including Barnes and Noble, Target, and your local book store. Happy reading!


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