6 AAPI Youth Activists You Should Know

Raquel Martinez


May 29, 2021

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Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is a period for the duration of the month of May that recognizes and celebrates the contributions, history and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. As part of this month, we would like to uplift youth activists in the community dedicated to combatting climate change while upholding climate justice.

In the following feature, six AAPI youth activists share what their identity means to them, how this relates to their climate work and advice for fellow activists.

1. Kristy Drutman (she/her)

My identity is a continuous reminder to stay humble, rooted in integrity, and speaking up consistently on injustices. My advice for fellow activists who may identify as Filipino is to connect with environmental activists in the Philippines. The diaspora is so complex and how we connect with our motherland is different for every single person. Exploring your roots can be a truly healing and grounding experience as you are tossed into the fight for a livable planet. The AAPI community is not a monolith, and environmental activism is no exception. Embrace & share your nuanced perspective navigating this space – you never know who is looking to build with you.

Follow on instagram: @browngirl_greEN

2. Anisa Nanavati (she/her)

Some advice that I have for fellow activists in my community is to be unafraid to be themselves and express themselves through activism. In my personal experience, family has been reluctant towards activism, but it is important to make your voice heard!

FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM: @anisananavati

3. Tammy Yu (she/her)

Backyard vegetable gardens are a distinctive trait of Asian Americans. From winter melons to Napa, these crops that aren’t available at the local grocery stores are grown year-round in small urban backyards. And since racial and environmental justice are intrinsically interconnected, the same neighborhoods that house many immigrants are also the ones that are next to facilities that leach toxins into the soil. The language barrier of my mother and so many of my neighbors means remaining oblivious to the dangers of their habits. As a first generation immigrant and activist, I strive to educate and elevate Asian American immigrants on the environmental issues that taint their culture by standing as the bridge between those who are powerless and those who empower.


4. Ardra J. Charath (she/her)

My background has given me a lot of unique experiences. I’ve lived in the United States, India, and Kuwait, which has given me the opportunity to compare the impacts of climate change and the attitudes surrounding it on a global scale. I try to use these experiences and acknowledge the range in experiences and attitudes towards climate change when I do my advocacy work, which has been of great benefit.


5. Nama Pandey (she/her)

Climate change has stripped a number of resources away from my family, whether it be the worsening public health or the extreme droughts that have cost my grandparents much of their land where they grow their crops. My identity has taught me the importance of creating an accepting space for advocacy work to happen. Including the voices from a vast spectrum of communities has always been instilled in me. Because of my identity, I’m driven with passion and am aware of the advocacy space that needs to be created.


6. Hana Razvi (she/her)

My identity plays a huge role in my climate and advocacy work because I take personal experiences from my life and implement them into my activism. I allow myself to interact with friends and family members that have had similar experiences with environmental racism.


Want to read more? Check out the ACE Blog.


Raquel Martinez

Raquel is a Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, Florida where she is based. Throughout the course of her career, Raquel has focused on delivering environmental education and leading hands-on stewardship initiatives throughout south Florida. Raquel enjoys roller skating, playing bass, spending time outdoors, and being with her pets.

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