Climate Voices

September 19, 2019
By: Jason Rodney, Former Senior Youth Coordinator

Introducing the 2019-2020 Youth Core!

YEA! MNYouth Environmental Activists of MN (YEA! MN) is led by a group of students called the Core, with support from Climate Generation staff.

We’re excited to introduce our 2019–2020 Core!

With hundreds of students across Minnesota in the YEA! MN Network, the Core is tasked with nurturing this community, training new leaders, and coordinating action. This year’s Core comes from Worthington, Rochester, and many cities across the Twin Cities. They meet several times a month, facilitate trainings for the Network, and guide the vision of YEA! MN.

Alina Hyder 

Senior, Century High School

Alina has been passionate about climate change since her freshman year in high school. She grew up learning about pollution, but never knew how to prevent it. She first got involved through Climate Generation when she participated in planning a climate convening in her community to bring awareness to the dangers of climate change. Not only did she educate others, but also herself. Alina joined the YEA! MN Core to create change and bring awareness by educating people about climate change. She also hopes to make new friends and learn more about ways to prevent climate change. Apart from being a climate activist, Alina loves to compete nationally in karate and workout at crossfit. She is excited to work with the YEA! MN Core team and make a difference!

Anna Grace Hottinger 

Junior, Conserve School + Edvisions Off Campus

Anna Grace has had a deep passion for climate justice since her freshman year in high school. She grew up in a family that cares deeply for the environment but never got a chance to learn about what climate justice is until she started working with YEA! MN last year. Ever since joining, Anna Grace has gotten involved in numerous climate justice groups. She helped write the Minnesota Green New Deal, the 100% Clean Energy bill for Minnesota, organized numerous climate strikes and now is representing the United States internationally for Fridays For Future. In her free time, she enjoys doing anti-tobacco advocacy, backpacking, writing, reading, camping, doing triathlons, and traveling! Anna Grace is thrilled to be a part of the YEA! MN core this year to help get other youth involved in climate justice advocacy and to broaden her horizons!

Antuan Yarbrough 

Senior, Patrick Henry High School

Antuan is taking action because climate change and social injustices affect everybody, and he hates seeing people being discriminated against for voicing their opinions. In addition to leading with YEA! MN, he has helped tutor kids in math and he currently interns with Genesys Works. His goal is to inspire and make a change in the world, to better the community and better the climate.

Cristina Erickson

Senior, Century High School 

Cristina has always been concerned for her environment. She has found herself growing increasingly passionate about climate justice over the past couple of years. At her high school she has been involved in the environmental club. However, it was with Minnesota Youth Climate Strike that she found her place in the climate justice movement. After working with them on their May strike, she was inspired to take on a more involved role and now serves as the Creative Director. She is very excited to begin her work with YEA! MN. Through it, she hopes to hone her leadership skills as well as her activism skills. Along the way, she is excited to create a bond with other like-minded individuals. Outside of climate justice, Cristina enjoys her work in student government as well as playing soccer and working with horses.

Deja Woods

Sophomore, Cristo Rey High School

Deja joined YEA! MN because she believes that youth have the biggest voices in society today. She thinks that YEA! MN gives youth the chance to express how they feel on environmental justice. She recently started getting into climate change because it affects her generation the most. She thinks that being in YEA! MN can give her a chance to share her voice.

Eileen Norwood

Junior, Armstrong High School

After researching, writing, and presenting the effects of population growth as well as beef production on climate change as part of the AP capstone program, Eileen has always felt like she could be doing more to protect our environment. Luckily, she was able to join Armstrong’s environmental club and participate in the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike movement to do just that. Furthermore, Eileen continues to lead a plant-based lifestyle in order to reduce her individual impact on the planet. Through the YEA! MN Core she is looking to collaborate with others invested in creating real change for our environment and learn more about effective climate activism to share with Armstrong’s environmental club and her local community. Aside from climate activism and research, she competes in Armstrong diving, weightlifting and track, in addition to painting for the mural club. Eileen cannot wait to continue pursuing climate justice and make a difference with the Core.

Guille Bastian McClain

Junior, South High School

Guille goes to South High School in Minneapolis and loves to hang out with friends and family. YEA! MN is important to her because she is able to learn leadership skills and help educate people about climate change.

Isra Hirsi

Junior, South High School

Isra is one of the three Co-Founders and Co-Directors for the US Youth Climate Strike.  Growing up in MN with the intense climate and in diverse communities, she developed a very well-rounded knowledge of climate change. Seeing pipelines being built in her state, extreme snow conditions, and hearing about Flint, MI, she really wanted to do something about it. So she joined her school’s green team and got connected with other youth climate organizations. As a black Muslim woman, it is important to her to have intersectionality be brought into this fight!

Juwaria Jama

Sophomore, Spring Lake Park High School

Juwaria recently got involved in environmental justice this past year when she realized how much air pollution and low water quality affected her community in North Minneapolis. She’s been involved in the MN Climate Strike advocating for communities like hers. Juwaria hopes to continue building momentum in the environmental justice movement and create more friends and change with YEA! MN.

Keriann Cooper

Junior, Roosevelt High School

Keriann joined YEA! MN last year because she wanted to help protect our ecosystems from climate change. Through YEA! MN, she learned how climate change is unfairly affecting marginalized communities significantly more than privileged communities (who are the ones contributing most to climate change). Keriann hopes to take more environmental justice action this year. She also wants to learn how she can be in solidarity with marginalized communities as we all become resilient to climate change. Plus, she wants to improve her skills in advocating for sustainable practices. Outside of YEA! MN, Keriann enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, nordic skiing, and watching wildlife.

Kathleen Goggleye

Senior, Harding High School

Kathleen holds different perspectives of how we look at climate change and environmental work.  She finds herself in different worlds divided by her traditional upbringing and recent urban roots. She’s interested in environmental justice, hoping to bring light to issues that are overlooked, especially with indigenous matters. A newfound leader amongst her school’s indigenous students and community, she hopes to bring the indigenous perspective into view. She considers herself new to the climate world but strives for more understanding of it and hopes to bring an outlook. Currently, she lives in an urban city but holds her roots to a small town, within her Ojibwe reservation. A few of her favorite things are traveling, exploring outdoor parks, dancing in native tradition, as well as learning and speaking Ojibwe.

Maddy Fernands

Junior, South High School

Maddy has always been curious about environmental action, politics, and activism, and has been increasingly involved since middle school. Maddy served on the City of Edina’s Energy and Environment Commission as a Junior Commissioner, as well as a leader of her school’s environmental club, Project Earth. Maddy recently become much more involved with YEA! MN and many other statewide youth-led environmental organizations, and is anticipating that within the next few years we will be able to accomplish a lot. Outside of environmentalism Maddy enjoys Model UN, speech, and being outdoors.

Mekdelawit Tilahun

Senior, Worthington High School

Mekdelawit became interested in climate change and its importance during the 2016 elections. Since then Mekdelawit has been doing research and projects about climate change and its effects.  When Mekdelawit learned about YEA! MN and what it wants to do they felt compelled to apply because they wanted to help stop the destruction of the world while learning more about climate change. Mekdelawit wants to grow to be a leader in the fight against climate change in their community.

Michele Nguyen

Freshman, Southwest High School

Michele has always been interested in climate change, but never really knew how to be apart of the solution. One of the things she wants to learn more about is learning how to educate people about climate justice. It makes her sick to think that elected officials don’t have our best interests in mind, so she got involved to change that! Besides making a positive change, she loves to ski and eat french fries in her spare time.

Priya Dalal-Whelan

Senior, Perpich Arts High School

Priya is seventeen years old and outreach director for MN climate strikes.  When Priya is not working on the strike, she is studying creative writing at Perpich Arts High School.

Shahad Geer

Junior, Roosevelt High School

Shahad has worked with the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike to engage schools, community centers, and environmental groups to participate in strikes, marches, and demonstrations for climate justice.  She is working to improve her school’s recycling system as a member of the Earth Club. She hopes to pursue an education in environmental science and social work to become a full-time environmental and social justice activist.

Soni Shah

Senior, Century High School

Soni has a budding passion for climate justice. As President of Century S.A.V.E (Students Against Violating the Earth) Club, she strives to guide her school and community to become more environmentally friendly. She is an aspiring veterinarian who advocates for animals unjustly suffering from the rising impacts of climate change. Soni joined YEA! MN Core to grow her love for the environment, combat the imprint of climate change and cultivate leadership skills she can bring into her community. Outside of educating about environmental awareness, Soni enjoys volunteering at Zollman Zoo and the local Paws and Claws Humane Society. She competes with the Rochester Figure Skating Club and alpine skis. Soni is thrilled to be joining the Core, because if we work together, we will make a difference.