Brower Youth Awards

Isha Clarke

Oakland, CA

Fighting the development of a coal plant in West Oakland

Isha Clarke, a 16 year old from Oakland, California, is one of the original members of Youth vs. Apocalypse, a diverse group of youth activists who came together to protest a coal terminal which was (and still is) to be built in an underserved community of color in Oakland. 

Isha’s activism began in the city where she lives. In 2017, Isha found herself at a youth-led action targeting a developer who was in the process of suing the city of Oakland to allow him to build a controversial coal terminal through West Oakland, a low-income community of color. Isha learned that this community was already struggling with environmental illnesses such as asthma, that would be exacerbated by the coal terminal. This is when she discovered how central environmental racism is to fighting for environmental justice. Isha felt it was right to stand up and speak truth to power. 

Isha has broadened her activism and is now one of the leaders of Youth Vs Apocalypse, a group of youth activists from the Bay Area who recently confronted Senator Dianne Feinstein, along with Bay Area Earth Guardians Crew and Sunrise Movement, about her stance on the Green New Deal in a now viral video. This event sparked a vital national conversation about both the Green New Deal, and the role of young people in climate activism. Since gaining this platform, Isha and Youth Vs Apocalypse activists have continued fighting for radical climate action that is centered around frontline communities. They organized the hugely successful March 15th Bay Area Youth Climate Strike, planned a community block party, both aligning with the Friday’s For Future campaign started by Greta Thunberg, and, with Sunrise Movement, organized a powerful series of actions at the California Democratic Convention.

Isha strives to create a movement that reflects the world that young people want to see. She works to make sure the voices of young people, people of color, and disenfranchised frontline communities are the loudest.

Profile Film

Acceptance Speech