Identity and Activism

September 19, 2019
Claudia Sachs

Richmond, Virginia, United States

Class of 2021

Read more from this author →

As a teenager, my identity is constantly being questioned. I’m always asking myself, “Who am I?”and “Where do I stand?” Deciding whether to wear a bright colored shirt or a strange outfit can even feel like a difficult decision at this point in my life! However, there are two parts of my identity that will never change. I am a Jewish Climate Activist.

I build my life based on the Hillel quote, “If not me, who? If not now, then when?” That quote has defined my work in climate activism. One day after school, I was sitting on the bus trying to find a song to sing at my first DC climate strike. I couldn’t find a song that suited the vitality and urgency of the School Strike forClimate movement,” so I thought to myself, “If not me, then who?” I then decided to go home and write the song that our movement needed.

The song is called“Future of Humanity.” The verses chant, “The beaches of Miami will be gone by2060.” As the song progresses, the bridge states, “The time has come to change our fate. We have ten years left. It’s not too late.” And finally, the chorus exclaims, “We have to fight so we can be the future of humanity.”

The next time I sang the chorus of my song, “We have to fight,” I was standing next to Greta Thunberg, the world-famous climate activist from Sweden who’s just six month solder than me, at the DC Climate Strike. I was surrounded by hundreds of teen activists, and all of us were chanting “we have to fight,” towards the great houses of power at the capital of the United States of America.

I choose to strike from school because how can I continue learning about history, science, and technology when I may not have a safe, livable future to grow up in? Previous generations have had the privilege of passiveness. Many were shielded from the devastation and destruction of the future that I now live in. Climate activism may very well save the Future of Humanity, and it is now up to the youth to fight for our own futures.

As I continue to fight for climate justice, I remind myself of the famous quote by Rabbi Tarfon: “It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to abandon that work either.” I will not be able to stop the warming of the planet. I cannot cure all diseases or stop every natural disaster. But I can be a stepping stone, and I can be a change-maker. I can be a voice for those who don’t have the means, rights, or freedom to protest for climate justice. I look to Jewish leaders like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ellie Wiesel to remind myself to stand tall and stand up, even if that means standing alone.

I am proud to beJewish. And I am proud to be a Climate Activist. Regardless of what my friends, teachers, or school administration say, I will continue fighting for what I believe in. My identity as a Jewish Climate Activist will never waver, and I will use my passion for justice and righteousness to help ensure sustainability, safety, and climate equality for the Future of Humanity.

Claudia is a BBG from Cohen BBG in Eastern Region and she loves to travel!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

Explore More Stories

Get The Shofar blasted to your inbox