Last week, from June 14th to June 16th, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for Our Climate’s National Climate Justice Summit! Since the fall of 2021, I have been working with OC as a Florida fellow, and I have collaborated with an incredible team of youth leaders in advocating for climate justice. The summit was the first time that I got to meet everyone in person!

In the weeks before the summit started, I helped plan our first group activity: creating tiles for our mosaic, which was displayed at our #555ForOurFuture rally in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool. I was so excited to help plan this mosaic project because I am passionate about creating and using art to spread a powerful message!

When brainstorming the design, we wanted to symbolize the voices of youth leaders fighting for climate justice, so we designed the megaphone. We then incorporated “555” projecting out of the megaphone to emphasize the purpose of our rally: to advocate support of $555 billion in climate investments.

“The Climate Justice Rally was my first rally I’ve ever attended. I was moved to hear so many student leaders’ climate stories in person and how we share similar passions to advocate for just climate policy through different mediums.” – Haley McGehee, Florida Fellow

In my time with OC, I have seen the power of using art and storytelling as activism and to inspire others. When I saw the finished mosaic and heard all of my fellow youth leaders speak at our rally, I felt immensely proud of all that we have accomplished in the past year. OC has connected me to an incredible community of thoughtful and passionate people, and I am excited to participate in future climate resilience projects with Our Climate. 

Olivia Zhang is a high school student from South Florida who joined Our Climate to work with and learn from a network of climate activists. Always inspired by local and online communities working together to address the climate crisis, she makes an effort to be involved with her community—advocating for climate action through art, education, and collaboration.