Interviewing an 8th grade activist

For this month’s Other Voices TV program we tried something a little different — breaking the program into two segments. Following a 45-minute interview with political economist Jack Rasmus, I brought on a young climate change organizer.

Eighth-grader Julia Zeitlin founded the Palo Alto Hub of the Sunrise Movement. Having already organized one school march to her Congresswoman’s office, Julia is busy preparing for local actions for the Global Climate Strike on September 20. She’s leading the effort to have her classmates engage in a walkout at her middle school. And, she’ll be a speaker at an evening rally being organized by Peninsula Peace and Justice Center.

One of my questions was why she had chosen the Sunrise Movement to affiliate with, when there is no shortage of climate change organizations to choose from. Julia was particularly inspired by SM’s sit-in at Nancy Pelosi’s office shortly after the new Congress began in January. For those wondering what this kind of action “accomplishes”, it’s clear that one successful aspect is the recruitment of new activists to the cause.

Julia is certainly the youngest guest I’ve interviewed on the show (I’ve conducted over 250 interviews). I think the oldest guest was probably former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, who would have been 81 years old when he appeared in 2011. Unfortunately, there’s no online video of this interview. But he was a lot fun to interview.

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