Did you know that the first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22nd, 1970? Organizers created Earth Day to advocate for our planet and bring awareness to the injustices that were happening to it! Fast forward and our shared home faces more challenges than we could have imagined nearly 50 years ago, with environmental catastrophes increasing.
In order to improve holistic wellness for BIPOC youth and their families, we know that protecting our planet is a vital piece of the puzzle. This and many more reasons are why students went to hang out with our friends at Front & Centered, who partnered with Rainier Ave Radio and The Social Justice Film Institute to host “Earth Deserves More than a Day” a week-long series focusing on Climate Justice! Student Organizers joined the Youth Radio Takeover event and FEEST Student Organizer Amelie blessed the mic as the evening’s emcee!
Check out a powerful quote from her below:
Image is of FEEST Youth & Student Organizers:
Emily, Kai, Khoa, Amelie, Jude and Belina!
I come with FEEST today. FEEST is an organization that is youth-led — we love youth! We help and train youth in making social change, so we can reach that hope, that dream, that we all must have about changing our schools, which is what we focus on. Right now we have a Mental Health Campaign, we are focusing on many schools, and it’s really important to [young people]. Today we’re going to talk about environmental justice, which lemme tell you, it definitely relates to one another. I believe that our mental health has to be good for us to do good for others. We wanna make a change in society because we see many issues but in order to make that change, we need to be okay first. That’s why we believe mental health is important!
Students went on to share their names, pronouns, and answered two questions:
- What is something that inspires you?
- What do you want to walk away today with?
The room was filled with powerful young organizers representing themselves and their grassroots organizations and collectives. We heard thoughts from Black Student Union members, Filipinx organizers, and many more on what inspired them to fight for climate justice. We then watched a video that highlighted the impacts of climate change on smaller BIPOC communities across the globe and students got a chance to reflect together.
Check out some quotes from students on how this video landed for them:
This makes me think about how last year there were strikes happening right before school started within the Seattle Public School District. I’ve heard stories about Franklin, Cleveland, and Rainier Beach, and how they get different resources than we see in well-funded schools that are up north. Basically what happened last year, despite the fact that, after the strikes happened, there were talks about how they reached an agreement, but we’re still seeing the same problems. South End schools are still not getting adequate mental health resources and their schools or their classrooms are still not getting adequate heating. Things are still breaking down. Students don’t even have supplies. You still see the same problems and a lot of it points to the budget cuts that are being made that are still ongoing.
I feel like when people ask you about Social Justice, they ask you about racial discrimination. You can see how gentrified cities are getting more repairs in their roads, better access to healthcare… You really see how our city raises our points depending on what area they are in, and I think that’s just an example of injustice because the financial state of your area impacts the way your area will be treated.
I gotta agree with you all on the funding issues, especially when it comes to the arts and schools, music, and all that. Especially for me, since I’m a musician, and I would like a lot more opportunities, like classes and all that, but because of budget constraints, there aren’t that many [opportunities]. So I got to make do with what I have.
Last year [my friend who used to attend Cleveland High School] moved up to Bellevue and goes to Northgate High School or something like that. There is a fencing club, rocket science club, etc. and I was jealous, like “That’s such a cool club!” my clubs here, they’re alright, so I just thought about clubs! I think if our schools had more funding like the schools in richer neighborhoods, it would help students explore their passions more! Like what if I like fencing? What if I wanna be an Olympic fencer?
This thing about cities being divided by race, wealth, language… I moved schools and started going to a school more up north. I see the communities [up north] are so much nicer, but when I go home, cities don’t really care for this area. It’s so sad. And of course, we relate that to our schools, because we’re students, and it also affects our schools. You can see the city doesn’t care about education in these areas, in the SAME city! This also drove me back to the idea that mental health is related to where you are. If you’re in an area where the system doesn’t support you, doesn’t help you, you’re not gonna do great. I mean, you’ll do fine if you’re resilient, love that. Resistance is important, it’s a vital part after everything that’s happened, but it shouldn’t have to be that way. This video really made me think about that.
The Youth Radio Takeover was an evening full of fruitful discussions! Thank you to our friends Front & Centered for hosting such a thoughtful week of events for Earth Day! Click here If you’d like to watch the full livestream of the event to hear the richness of knowledge and wisdom from the youth in the room. We are honored to be in community with organizers who are fighting for racial, economic, and environmental justice for our youth, families, communities, and our planet!
Wanna learn more about FEEST Student’s thoughts on Climate Justice? Check out our recap blog from when students were featured in the Wing Luke Museum’s “We Are Changing The Tides” exhibit!
Images are of FEEST Student & Youth Organizers!
Thank you for reading Earth Deserves More than a Day!
In case you didn’t know, FEEST is in the middle of our Spring Donation Drive! We are raising funds to continue our work in the Highline & Seattle Public Schools District, and hope to reach $40,000 by May 12th!
If you wanna support:
- Centering and uplifting youth voices and leadership in our schools and communities
- Youth growing into strong lifelong leaders and organizers for systems change
- Building strong school communities
- Our 2023 Organizer Summer Camp!
- Our youth-led movement to improve mental health support in schools!
- Paying our Student Organizers & Staff a living wage!
- and more!
Donate today! All size donations are meaningful to us, there is no amount that goes unappreciated.
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