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Mari Copeny accepts an award in New York City.

Designing youth civic education for representative civic participation

Harris is the advocacy director of Generation Citizen, an education nonprofit that works to ensure young people are prepared to participate in civic life.

As we watch young people around the country stand up for climate change, it is impossible not to consider the power of young people to change our world.

People have been listening to Greta Thurnburg as she speaks on the world's most prominent platforms while droves of young people have been rolling up their sleeves to drive change. Many have been largely overlooked by the media including Mari Copeny, the African-American middle schooler who brought attention to the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and Vic Barrett, one of 22 young plaintiffs suing the government for its contributions to the climate crisis.

A look through history similarly reminds us that young people have pioneered some of our most important societal advances: From college students in North Carolina who led a sit-in at the lunch counter during the civil rights movement, to the young people on the frontlines in Ferguson, Mo., to the leaders of Black Lives Matter, to the survivors of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., who founded March for Our Lives.

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