Seventeen Magazine Spotlights Gen Z Activists

Published 09 February 2023

Author
2 min read

US teen magazine Seventeen honoured six young leaders mobilising for social change at its annual Voices of the Year event in New York (January 31). Key insights included how like-minded activists can work across geographies to tackle local issues, and how intergenerational collaboration can level up mentorship.

  • Shared Cross-Regional Identities: “Young people are not as attached to their geographical communities as much as they are to ones of shared identity,” said LGBTQ+ campaigner and Harvard freshman Zander Moricz. He founded the Social Equity and Education (SEE) Alliance in 2019, originally to fight Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill.

    "Doing local work doesn’t mean you have to be local,” he said, as most of SEE’s youth activists live in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. “In places like Florida, where there isn’t a lot of support for young people to mobilise, there isn’t a lot of enthusiasm and energy. You don’t have to artificially create it – you can pull from where it exists, and leverage it in a way that’s more strategic and more collaborative.” Moricz went viral last year for creatively working around his school administration prohibiting the word ‘gay’ in his graduation speech.

  • Intergenerational Changemaking: Environmental justice campaigner Jade Lozada – also a Harvard freshman – highlighted the importance of youngsters collaborating with seasoned activists. Reflecting on leading climate strikes in 2019 at her high school in New York, she said: “Some of the most productive, strongest and emotional relationships we had were between Gen Z and Boomers who’d been organising in New York City for decades.”

    Given the complexity of climate science, Lozada also noted opportunities for two-way educational collaboration: “One of the ways older generations could have shown allyship to me and my peers was to support our training and research [and] learn from those who are experts, while trusting our lived experiences.”

    The other honourees were campaigners Cameron Samuels and Edha Gupta, ‘Gen Z historian’ Kahlil Greene, and writer Pranjal Jain.

  • Shared Cross-Regional Identities: “Young people are not as attached to their geographical communities as much as they are to ones of shared identity,” said LGBTQ+ campaigner and Harvard freshman Zander Moricz. He founded the Social Equity and Education (SEE) Alliance in 2019, originally to fight Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill.

    "Doing local work doesn’t mean you have to be local,” he said, as most of SEE’s youth activists live in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. “In places like Florida, where there isn’t a lot of support for young people to mobilise, there isn’t a lot of enthusiasm and energy. You don’t have to artificially create it – you can pull from where it exists, and leverage it in a way that’s more strategic and more collaborative.” Moricz went viral last year for creatively working around his school administration prohibiting the word ‘gay’ in his graduation speech.

  • Intergenerational Changemaking: Environmental justice campaigner Jade Lozada – also a Harvard freshman – highlighted the importance of youngsters collaborating with seasoned activists. Reflecting on leading climate strikes in 2019 at her high school in New York, she said: “Some of the most productive, strongest and emotional relationships we had were between Gen Z and Boomers who’d been organising in New York City for decades.”

    Given the complexity of climate science, Lozada also noted opportunities for two-way educational collaboration: “One of the ways older generations could have shown allyship to me and my peers was to support our training and research [and] learn from those who are experts, while trusting our lived experiences.”

    The other honourees were campaigners Cameron Samuels and Edha Gupta, ‘Gen Z historian’ Kahlil Greene, and writer Pranjal Jain.

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This article is an example of Stylus' expert research into how trends are evolving. Get in touch so someone from the Stylus team can explain how your business can harness the power of trends and insights like these – and more.