Since January, young people from all around the Bay Area have been putting in work at our annual youth climate justice fellowship! Around 50 Bay Area youth have been participating in this fellowship to build community, but also develop organizing skills to help shift power into their hands so they can actively combat environmental racism and climate catastrophe.
Youth Vs Apocalypse Fellows have focused on learning the histories of movements, like the Black Panthers Free Breakfast Program, the history of radical organizing among Filipino farm workers, the disability justice movement, and so much more.
When asked about their favorite part of the fellowship, YVA Youth Leader Chris Soriano said, “I’m so grateful that I’ve gotten to learn and go deeper into the history and resilience of the Filipino Farmworkers Movement.” Using this knowledge gained from these revolutionary elders, YVA youth have begun to imagine their own roles in the movement today and what they can implement into their own practice as youth leaders.
Fellows have also been able to participate in creative writing workshops led by Hip Hop & Climate Justice, public speaking training, as well as workshops on developing skills on how to analyze power and privilege in our world, how to organize conversations, and social media training. The YVA fellowship covers a wide range of topics focused on building a liberated future for the youth, the people, and the land itself.
Here’s what a few youth have to say about their experience in the YVA climate justice fellowship:
“My favorite part of the Youth Vs Apocalypse fellowship was that I was able to realize that there’s a bigger community of people who care” — Anu, 12, YVA Youth Leader
“I’ve grown a lot during the fellowship, especially by becoming more knowledgeable on many campaigns that YVA works on. I also gained so much more political education from the fellowship too” — Sam, 17, YVA Youth Leader
“Throughout the couple of years that I’ve participated in the YVA fellowship, I’ve been able to grow as a student; being able to comprehend complex terms and understanding but also as an activist, organizer, and a person in general. The fellowship has taught me to go out of my comfort zone, communicate, learn, and grow as a community and SO much more.” — Chris, 16, YVA Youth Leader
“My favorite thing I learned during the YVA fellowship is how I can support making a change in our communities! YVA has a large number of people from so many places which is fantastic because we can learn about the problems currently happening in our community and find a way to solve them as a team! I have also felt like I have grown more social skills in this fellowship — I was really nervous and shy about everything and everyone but the more I got to know the people in the fellowship, the more I felt a stronger connection with them, and the more I felt like I fit right in.” — Rafael, 17, YVA Youth Leader
Youth Vs Apocalypse fellows have grown a lot in this fellowship, and are excited for how they can use this knowledge to make real material change in their communities and in the climate justice movement as a whole.
Written by Julz Alfonso, YVA Community Education & Organizing Coordinator
Photos by Dulce Arias