Photo courtesy of Leigh Vogel and Bethany Edwards (Dress: TheMaddyCo)
By Havana Chapman-Edwards •
My name is Havana Chapman-Edwards and I am 8 years old. I am here today because sometimes democracy looks like disagreement. I can’t sit in my classroom learning about our government when the government isn’t taking my future seriously.
I am here because the world right now is not a peaceful place. Right now there are girls who look like me who are suffering from climate change, gun violence, and can’t access their human rights like education, clean water, and so many more. But I still have hope because I know all of us striking today are unstoppable.
Right over there in The People’s House, the President has the power to help us today. But it is not happening because like Ms. Judith Howell says “the greedy never care about the needy”.
My parents are diplomats so I have lived in 5 different countries. I have seen with my own eyes that no country in the world, large or small, rich or poor, can escape climate change. In Egypt where I was born, it is one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change. The rising sea levels of the Mediterranean and the Nile are destroying their crops and cities like beautiful Alexandria.
When I lived in Latvia, climate change was affecting them too. There is a war on nature because of illegal logging and it’s causing dangerous deforestation.
In Mauritania in West Africa, the floods are going to wash away the city of Nouakchott where I learned to ride a bike and de-bone my own fish when I ate dinner at the beach after school. Droughts are making it impossible for too many girls in Mauritania to go to school because of the hours they have to walk to get water.
And this summer, I will be moving to a new country where the rising temperatures and rising sea levels are bringing disease and pollution that is dangerous to the refugees who came to there to seek asylum.
I am only in 2nd grade but I know you are never too little to make a difference. I keep speaking up and speaking out because here in America and around the globe there are wars, modern day slavery, domestic violence, terrorism, racism, sexism, and hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking safety. Too many people are becoming refugees not just because of war or poverty, but because of climate change.
We live in Chocolate City; the same city where the change makers are making decisions that affect our lives. And we are out here striking today again because there is so much more work to be done by our lawmakers and the kids are going to hold them accountable.
I am proud of us. It’s us kids who are the example for the adults. If millions of us all over the world can work together, strike together, and stand together, the adults can too. We can’t make our world strong if we leave people behind.
We know it’s hard work to get the US to support the Green New Deal. But we are kids. Like my friends at the Sunrise Movement say; “they try to stop us, but we keep coming back”.
Malala said, “When the whole world is silent, one voice becomes very powerful.” Malala is once voice, Greta is one voice, I am one voice. To everyone listening, even though you might be tiny, your voice is not. I believe we the kids are going to use our voices and we will outlast the adults. Then we will sing and dance all the way to getting our Green New Deal in 2020.
This speech for the Global Climate Strike was written by Havana Chapman-Edwards, a future POTUS, astronaut, and artist who fights for Girls’ Education with her diplomat family.