What it’s like to be a 12-year-old activist

If you are not familiar with Madison Kimrey, you are already behind the times.

She is a young but outspoken activist who took on North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory this past summer/fall over his voter suppression efforts (Huffington Post story HERE).  MSNBC even gave her their “#Disrupter of the Week” award recently.

See her in action as she speaks out at the North Carolina State Capitol.

She can’t vote yet why should that stop her?  We’re thrilled and proud to feature her this week as she tells her own story exclusive for ProgressWomen!

Courtesy of rawstory.com

 by Madison Kimrey of Burlington, North  Carolina, guest editor & 12 year old activist

I never thought when I started out by standing up to the way North Carolina’s Governor reacted to the concerns of ordinary citizens that I would  get  national attention.

I was just a girl at a protest, standing up for women’s rights and voting rights.

It just so happened I was standing on the sidewalk at a protest when the Governor’s staff decided to bring out some cake to joke around with us. That’s when people started paying a little more attention to me and I decided that if people were going to pay attention, I was going to try to do some good for the young people of my state and now, the young people of our nation.

Everything I’m doing keeps me busy, but I’m careful to stay in control of my life. I have school, my friends, and many other interests outside of activism, and all these things have to  be balanced. A lot of people want to talk to me. I’ve gotten many offers to do interviews, speak, write, and help various people and organizations. It’s very hard to say no to people, but sometimes it has to be done.

I think it’s important for young people and adults to remember that in order to change things, you don’t have to do everything; you just have to do something.

Of course, being 12 years old, there are a lot of ignorant comments made about me.

I find it sad that there are adults who think teenagers are not capable of understanding the world around them and can’t have talents to share to make the world a better place. I often wonder if I were a boy if some of these people would be saying the same these things about me.

I don’t take hateful comments personally or let them get me down. I figure if there are people out there who want young people, the future of our country, to be quiet just because they don’t agree with the views of those young people, that’s a good reason to work harder.

I also get a lot of messages of support and a lot of people have said they are impressed because I’m so young. I hope these people know I’m not alone. There are a lot of young people who have abilities far more impressive than my own.

If I can do this, anybody can. Everybody has talents and abilities they can use to be the change they want to see in the world.

I chose to speak out on the issue of pre-registration because it’s an issue that affects my friends and will soon affect me. I’ll be 16 in a little less than four years and I think that’s a pretty reasonable amount of time to have to work to get this opportunity for myself and other young people.

Really, I’m learning as I go here. I have no grand plan for exactly how this is going to go. I have a lot of ideas, but sometimes the best way to get to your destination is to follow the path.

That’s what I’m doing, following the path.

  • Amanda Berry

    OUTSTANDING!
    What a well spoken and inspirational young woman!

  • Andy

    Madison’s speech made me smile and cry.