You’ve accomplished so much at such a young age! When did you first realize what you wanted to pursue?
“I realized I wanted to pursue social action and reading when I was younger, because my parents always read to me. They showed me that reading is important and to always encourage others in your community to read as well. My love for social action was born when my parents began to tell me that I have the power to use my voice to speak out about things that can change the world. I was only in elementary school, but I saw the need, felt the passion and made it my mission.
“For the past four years, I have been talking to business leaders, educational administrators, teachers and caregivers about the need to include youth voices in decisions that impact our world. More than ever, we see that when adults ignore or dismiss our opinions, we will make space for ourselves.”
What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
“My biggest accomplishment is still being able to change the curriculum in school districts across the country. And surpassing my goal to collect 1,000 books—now more than 11,000 books have been collected. I hope that my new show, Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, will also be used by teachers and educators to continue this discussion and amplify Black voices.”
What’s something you’d like people to know about you or your work that they probably don’t?
“Everyone should know that I still go to regular public school. I am an honors student, and I strive to work very hard on both the campaign and in school. I do a lot of balancing that people don’t necessarily see online. I also learned how to complete a Rubik’s cube this year, and I can do it in under one minute.”
What advice do you have for other young people advocating for change in 2020?
“Look locally—within your own community! It can be easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about all the change that needs to be done, but it’s so important for people to look at what they can change within the neighborhood they live in or the school they attend.”