An interview with Isha Clarke, youth activist

Mar 4, 2019 | Beyond the Bubble, News

Isha Clarke is an activist, a high school student, and the young woman who featured prominently in the recent and extremely controversial with Sen. Feinstein. Gitika Pahwa, staff writer on The Nueva Current and Student Council Lead, interviewed her about her experience before and after the video went viral.

Pahwa: How did you get involved with Youth Vs. Apocalypse (YVA) and activism? 

Clarke: I’ve been involved in activism for as long as I can remember. Whether it was participating in “adult” conversations about social justice and politics or attending (and sometimes speaking at) community protests. I got involved with YVA, when I attended an action with some of the YVA folks where we confronted Phil Tagami (a developer who is trying to build a coal terminal through Oakland).

P: What do you wish people understood about your group and you?

C: I wish that people would end the notion that young people are incapable of having their own voice. We are fighting for no agenda but our own, and that is our desire to LIVE.

P: What has your life been like since going viral?

C: Everything has been insane since the video went viral. We have gotten so much exposure—I have spoken with CNN, Huffington Post, KTVU, Good Morning America, and so many more. People want to hear what I have to say and it feels amazing! I really do think that we can pass the GND.

P: How would you describe the events that took place in the now-viral video? What’s the story behind it?

C: After a rally organized by Sunrise Movement, we were invited by Bay Area Earth Guardians Crew to deliver a letter to Senator Feinstein asking her to vote yes on the Green New Deal. While there she told us that the GND wouldn’t pass because it was too pricey and ambitious and that she had created her own resolution (a watered down version of the GND). The young people present (a mix of Sunrise, Bay Area Earth Guardians Crew, and YVA) wanted to express to her that it was too pricey to NOT enact the GND and that the longer we wait the more costly it will become. We can not ignore, nor compromise, with science. WE HAVE 12 YEARS.