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Strikes and Actions: Natalia Armenta

How Natalie found her place in youth activism.

March 25th, 2022, A Global Day of Action to advocate for #PeopleNotProfits, honing

into the destruction of the oil industry and the desperate need for a clean, equitable, and

renewable energy transition. This is one of many mobilizing events I have been able to help

facilitate alongside other amazing organizers. As a highly introverted teenager, it was a struggle to ever consider myself as someone taking a leadership role in large actions. However, as I grew more comfortable and found a community within the climate movement, I found my voice in advocacy. There is nothing more powerful than using your voice to connect, storytell and mobilize people to take action. An example of this is our March 25th Climate Strike, a strike built by the power of two young activists, 40-day time limit, limited funding and adult supporters. In the beginning stages of planning strike, the foundation conversation we had to have was, What is the message? What voices do we want to

uplift? Who are we calling to take action? For this particular event, we decided to focus on

uplifting the voices of the youth, the generation who will be most affected by climate change, and demanding for our San Diego community leaders to make a statement of solidarity and call to action for:

1. STOP Approving new fossil fuel permits

2. DROP all existing fossil fuel production through a just and timely transition

3. ROLL out 3200 ft Health & Safety Setbacks between neighborhoods and new and

existing oil & gas wells.

After setting the logistical components of the strike, our main focus was getting people there. We built a toolkit, flyers, social media posts and sent out emails to get the data and mission on people's calendars. We strategically reached out and called high school administration, environmental clubs, local organizations, and personal connections to get the word out. This process is tremendously tedious, however, essential to building your campaign’s people power and ability to communicate the message of the day of action. Following our recruitment stages, the next focus is curating demonstration materials and day-of-event schedule (Speakers, postcard writing to legislators, etc.) to maintain the viability of our efforts. We were able to prepare for this by hosting an art-build with local friends at one of our houses or park. Finally, as the day approached we continued our efforts of outreach and coordinating with confirmed invites if they had any needs.

March 24th, 2022. A day of action that I will always hold dear, after the long efforts of my

fellow organizers and myself, there was no greater feeling than seeing hundreds of the students marching from their school to the strike location chanting. As people flooded in, we proceeded with scheduled activities and also were flexible based on the feeling in the moment. At the end of the day the action was successful and also a learning moment. Following the strike, I personally experienced burnout and reflected on ways that we can improve our process to make sure it goes more smoothly in a future run. It's essential to never give up hope in something you are passionate about, even when motivation can feel at its all time lows and how the love and support of fellow organizers who share your motivations and values are the backbones of any actions.

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