Jamie Margolin is a climate justice activist. In 2019, the Washington native was included in the prestigious list of 100 Women, published by BBC.
The founder of Zero Hour spoke with Latinx Now! in a special video series called 'From Me To Me', where she revealed the advice she had for the girl who she was, "Dear Jamie, my biggest piece advice to you is to stop living in fear of what other people think of you or expect from you and just live. Live your life. Focus on doing what you think is right.”
The 18-year-old climate activist also spoke about the difficulties in her life and how she overcame them, “One of the biggest challenges that I faced was coming to terms with who I am as a lesbian and then coming out to my parents, my extended family and the whole world.”
“I used my skills as a writer to write a “coming out” letter to my parents. I have surrounded myself with friends who love me for who I am and who were there for me throughout my whole coming out process,” she added.
Let's remember that her environmental activism didn't start in 2019, but two years earlier, in 2017, when with a group of friends, she decided that the elected officials were not doing enough about climate change and that the voices of young people needed to be heard.
Today, Margolin inspires millions of young people around the world to join forces in the search for a more sustainable future, but who was her first Latinx hero and how did they motivate her to achieve her goals?
“It was from my mom that I learned to never settle, to never give up and to always persevere and push for what you want in life. I wouldn’t be who I am without my mom and she was my very first Latinx hero.”
On the support of the Latinx community, she said “I know that right now you’re very insecure about being only half Latina, being Latina on your mom’s side but then Jewish Ashkenazi on your dad’s side and you think you don’t belong in either world’s but I’m here to tell you that the Latinx community overall is going to embrace you so that’s something you have to look forward to and to let go of that judgment that you have against yourself that you’re not Latina enough.”
Jamie is very young, however, there is something that perhaps she could regret. “Something that you will regret doing is giving other people and what they think of you so much power and control. We’re diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and the way that that manifests for you is that you are very anxious about being hated and shunned,” she mentioned.
“OCD is something that you will live with for life so it’s not like you’ll get rid of it but you will learn how to manage it and overcome it so you are not wasting so much of your life worrying about other people’s perception,” she mentioned.
Margolin pointed out the work she does, “the way that you will use your voice to help nuestra gente is by amplifying causes about protecting the Amazon rainforest and amplifying the causes of environmental activists and organizers who are doing the real work on the ground in our family’s home country of Colombia and all around Latin America and that is the way that we give back to our community is by using the platform that we have to raise awareness about these issues.”
On the other hand, Jamie knows how she wants to be recognized, “You’re initially going to convince yourself because of what other people think of you that you want a career in politics but then once you actually do some reflection and think about what really makes you happy, you’re going to apply to and get into film school and start your journey and what we both want to be known for: making really impactful films and stories that are going to change people lives and give representation to young gay girls like us who didn’t really grow up seeing a lot of ourselves.”
Finally, she revealed the phrase she guides her life by, “never take criticism from people you wouldn’t take advice from. You have to realize which voices you listen to and take that constructive criticism and feedback…and just listen to your gut and draw those out.”
“We have to demand that those in power get to the roots of the climate crisis and tackle the systems of oppression that caused it in the first place.