Speaking Truth to Youth

These Speaking Truth to Youth videos reflect AWTT's belief that our portrait subjects are not superheroes but real people whose work is driven by moral courage and a passion for truth and justice. In these interviews, we hope to capture them in that spirit - sitting at home, sharing their thoughts in conversation.  They are intentionally unpolished and authentic.  We hope you enjoy a window into the lives of these models of courageous citizenship and realize that you, too, can be an activist - someone with the courage to act for social, economic, and environmental fairness.  It’s your moment!

Watch artist Robert Shetterly's brief introduction to the video series:

Now enjoy browsing the video library below.  (Find a link to each truth teller's portrait and short biography in bold red text.) 

Teachers, please check out this introductory Speaking Truth to Youth lesson (.pdf file). 

Pediatrician and community activist Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha finds inspiration in young activists who, she says, are already smart and courageous leaders.

Maine House Representative Chloe Maxmin tells how she became an activist at a young age and encourages others to step up and become engaged.

Sports journalist Dave Zirin tells story of how a disturbing scene at a sports event drove him to speak out and encourages young activists to practice self-care.

South Bronx educator and founder of Green Bronx Machine, Stephen Ritz believes truth is critical and advises young people to stick to their values and not be afraid to fail.

Educator John Hunter and his former student Choetsow Tenzin, now a sophomore at Harvard, encourage us to see each new person with fresh eyes and to live by Hunter’s motto, “Someone has to do it.”

Raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation, Sherri Mitchell describes how moments of injustice she witnessed in her youth inspired her to want to create change.

Organizer of domestic workers Ai-jen Poo describes how the many elders and strong women in her life inspire her to work to honor and protect the caregivers in our country.

Climate activist Bill McKibben reminds youth that social solidarity is key in fighting climate change and that there is a strong connection between patriotism and dissent.

Hip Hop Caucus CEO Rev. Lenox Yearwood tells youth that energy and passion are important, but love is what we need to create the world we want to inhabit.

Never straying far from the music that helps him rise above the struggles, Reggie Harris tells youth to know the history into which they were born but not let that limit their thinking.

Shrimper and environmentalist Diane Wilson believes we are too well-behaved. Putting her intention and commitment on the line helps her address climate change.

Nicole Maines tells how her story of being a transgender youth and young adult led Maine legislators to defeat a proposed bill that would harm her.

Women’s rights activist Cecile Richards recalls beginning her activist career in 7th grade when she started her school’s recycling program on Earth Day.

Since Becci Ingram is not alive to share her thoughts, her parents Malcolm and Elizabeth share how Becci became a playwright and how important it is to see children beyond labels.

Death row lawyer Bryan Stevenson discusses how proximity to vulnerable populations and hope are guides to his life as an activist.

Educator Bill Bigelow highlights for youth activists the significance of the journey and the value of community.

Penobscot Nation Ambassador Maulian Dana advises youth to learn from sadness and anger, then move toward their goals from a better place.

Co-founder of Code Pink Medea Benjamin shares the event that was the catalyst for launching her life as an activist.

Community builder and youth development activist Regina Jackson stresses the importance of listening to the youth voice.