“Don’t force us to deal with the consequences of an unexcused absence simply because we demand the right to a future”

Kimaya Mahajan – Interlake High Student, Global Climate Strike Activist

Below is a speech Kimaya delivered at a rally and press conference organized by my office on the morning of Sept 18 with students, educators and climate justice activists outside Washington Middle School to call on the Seattle School Board to excuse students from school to participate in the Sept 20 Global Climate Strike.

Hi my name is Kimaya Mahajan my pronouns are she her and I’m 15 years old. I’m here on behalf of hundreds of Seattle public school students who want to participate in the international (climate strike) on Friday, September 20. The students partaking on Friday are students who feel the greatest pressure on their shoulders of saving the world. 

Being a teenager is stressful enough with high school friendships sports drama puberty family and all the other things that are constantly on our minds.

The fact that adults at our city state national and international levels are expecting teens to find solutions to the climate crisis is not cute or empowering. it’s a gross injustice to ask 13, 14, 15-year-olds to spend their time figuring out how to save all of humanity because adults are too selfish to act. 

I am stressed and anxious all the time. Because every time I don’t act, I feel responsible for the lives lost as a result of my inaction. When will the adults begin to feel that same responsibility?

As school board members, I assume that you’re on the school board because you care about the success of the students in Seattle public schools. so then please show us that you really do care not just through words not just through your title but through real action. 

And as adults who let this climate crisis get to a point of no return, don’t force us to deal with the consequences of an unexcused absence simply because we demand the right to a future and we demand of the right to clean air to drinkable water, to be able show our kids what snow is one day. 

Let’s face it, this is the easiest thing that we’ll ask you to do. All were asking for is one day. We are asking for one day to make up for the decades of inaction. LOOK AT THEM. One day where you support us, the future generation, and recognize us as the change makers that we are.

Thank you. 

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