Amika George – Period pioneer
Ever heard of period poverty? We hadn’t either. When Amika George, 18, discovered that many girls in the UK couldn’t afford sanitary products, she decided to do something. So she launched the #FreePeriods campaign. Every month, some girls are forced to use everything from socks to toilet paper and torn up T-shirts to catch their period. Amika started a petition calling on the government to provide free sanitary items to girls from low-income families. She organised a peaceful protest attended by 2000 people, including models Suki Waterhouse, Daisy Lowe and beauty YouTuber Tanya Burr. Thanks to Amika’s efforts, the UK government said they’d put aside $2.6 million to address period poverty.
Bindi Irwin – Wildlife warrior
Following in her father’s footsteps, Bindi Irwin, now 20, has dedicated her life to wildlife conversation. Bindi spent much of her childhood at Australia Zoo, and the tragic death of her dad Steve when she was eight inspired Bindi to further his work. Along with her mother Terri and 14-year-old brother Robert, Bindi’s mission is to educate the public about the threats facing our animals.
Malala Yousafzai is a human rights advocate fighting for girls’ education. After speaking out against the oppressive Taliban regime in Pakistan, Malala became a target and in 2012, a masked gunman boarded her school bus and shot Malala in the head, neck and shoulder. She somehow survived and in 2014, at just 17, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest ever recipient. In the past few years, the now 21-year-old has opened a school for Syrian refugee girls and travels the world advocating for vulnerable girls, all while attending uni.
On February 14 this year, 17 people were killed and 17 others wounded in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The surviving students banded together to advocate for gun control in America, with Emma González, 18, at the forefront. In March, Emma and her classmates organised March For Our Lives, a rally that saw millions of teens and adults come together to protest lax gun laws. Emma has given gun control a voice – and her efforts have begun to effect real change. She’s even been on the cover of Teen Vogue and Time magazines. Earlier this year, a bill was passed that raised the minimum age to purchase rifles in Florida from 18 to 21 years old.
Ways to stay woke
Here's how you can make change...
Follow news accounts
Keeping up-to-date is super important in staying woke, and thanks to social media it’s easy to be connected. Follow accounts like ABC News, NPR and the New York Times on Twitter to get regular updates.
From women’s marches to protests for gun control in the US, there have been a number of global demonstrations in the last year. So next time a march or protest is going down in your area, go along if it’s a cause you’re passionate about.
Share what you learn
Now, we’re not saying this is your pass to get preachy, but it’s important to have conversations with friends and family to make sure those around you are woke. Hearing different perspectives on issues is a great way to open your mind even more.
Start a movement
Make like any of these socially woke activists and start your own movement. What are you passionate about? If something moves you, then go with that – start a petition, investigate how you can help and add your voice to the conversation.