Jerome Foster II is a 17 year old relentless and dedicated climate change activist, and the Executive Director and Founder of OneMillionOfUs—an organization that is mobilizing the youth vote across issues of climate change, racial injustice, gender equality, community/school gun violence and immigration reform. Jerome has been presented with the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, the Congressional Distinguished Activist Award, and was recently named 2019 Science Defender by the Union of Concerned Scientists USA. Jerome also founded an international youth led news organization called The Climate Reporter, which is focused at the intersection of climate change, frontline community advocacy, race, age, and journalism. Jerome works with the DC State Board of Education to reform the High School Graduation Requirements throughout all of Washington DC and is developing Virtual Reality Projects for civic causes through his company TAU VR, founded in 9th grade.
Jaysa Hunter-Mellers is featured at 10-years-old in the award-winning YVFP film ‘Words Have Power‘, where her dynamic speeches at rallies and her testimony at City Hall helped shut down the coal-fired power plant that was causing her asthma. Now 14, Jaysa has become a passionate advocate for environmental justice and civic education in all schools, so that kids—and adults, too—can learn how to participate in their own governance, take action, and speak to power like she did. She continues to galvanize audiences with a courage and wisdom that belie her years. Jaysa has been a Youth Leadership Panel Participant at Omega’s 2019 Drawdown Learn Conference and co-led YVFP’s Civic Engagement and Democracy workshop at the Ashokan Center’s 2020 Youth Empowerment & Sustainability Summit (YESS!). She has spoken at film screenings including the Belmont World Film Festival and Suncommon’s Climate Action Film Festivals.
Elsa Mengistu is an 18 year old advocate for racial justice, gender equity and immigrant rights and the Operations Logistics Director at Zero Hour. A freshman at the historically Black college Howard University, Mengistu is committed to making a change on her university’s campus, where she helped to organize the Sept. 20, 2019 Climate Strike and is working to reduce plastic consumption and improve students’ public transportation options. Elsa started her activism work with her local March For Our Lives branch. Since then she has been active in many social justice groups and coordinates outreach in order to gain support for the Youth Climate Movement, seeing how youth can support and uplift others. Elsa was featured in the Vox article: “Meet the young activists of color who are leading the charge against climate disaster”.
Twelve-year-old Ethan Vandivier’s passionate concern about climate change has led him to express his concerns to Members of Congress with many other youth and organizations. Ethan is a Citizens’ Climate Lobby Youth Leader, a Schools for Climate Action (S4CA) Youth Congressional Liaison, a member of Zero Hour’s advocacy team, and an organizer of (and speaker at) the September 20th Climate Strike in Washington DC. With S4CA, Ethan delivered climate resolutions signed by dozens of school boards, student councils and PTA’s acknowledging the moral obligation to protect the health, well-being and future of students. YVFP is making a film about Ethan’s efforts to introduce congressional legislation requiring solar panels on all schools through his organization, Solar Our Schools. Speaking out for his generation, he says, “there is no Planet B”.
Iris Zhan is a 16 year old climate justice activist from Columbia, MD. She is a hub leader for Sunrise Movement Howard County, a member of FFFUSA, and part of the Zero Hour music team. She has been recognized for her grassroots organizing with many local groups in Howard County and is a writer for The Climate Reporter. Iris was on several panels during Rebuild Maryland: The People’s Climate Summit organized by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and attended by 600 climate activists. Iris was featured in The Verge article: “Voices From the Global Climate Strike”.