Mari Copeny became a force to reckon with at the age of eight when she picked up the fight to gain attention and much needed aid for her hometown of Flint, MI. Now, fast forward five years later, and the amazing young Copney, continues to fight for not only Flint, but for those who need a voice.
In light of the historic moment that Senator Kamala Harris became the first woman of color to run for the second highest office in the land, Copney herself has her sights on the oval office in 2044.
This amazingly inspirational young activist took time out of her busy schedule to sit down and talk about the future with Popsugar. Take a look at their conversation in its entirety below. At the rate that she is going, we have a feeling that she will be a strong contender for president one day.
POPSUGAR: You’ve been fighting for clear water for communities nationwide for years now. What keeps you motivated and staying positive?
Knowing that I am not sitting around and waiting for the government to fix it helps to keep me going. Knowing that I decided not to wait until I grew up to face the problem head-on and offering a solution to those living with toxic water right now. I know that I am changing lives all across our country.
PS: Your clean water fund on Go Fund Me has raised over $325K — and counting! What are you able to use those funds for?
All those funds are being used to help provide state of the art high capacity filters that give clean water to those that have contaminated water. So far we have been able to raise enough to provide the equivalent of over 52 MILLION bottles of water, all without adding a single plastic bottle into the environment. I have a team of mostly kids across the country that are helping to distribute these filters in their communities.
PS: Last year, you called on presidential candidates to do a town hall with youth. What would be your first question in a town hall like that?
What are you going to do to make other politicians finally step up so us kids can focus on just being kids?
PS: I hear you want to campaign for president yourself in 2044. What changes do you hope to see in our country before you run?
Well, I would hope that by the time I am able to run that our country has fixed this terrible water crisis so many are dealing with coast to coast. I also hope that the hate that runs through this country goes away.
PS: Why is it important for young people to speak up today?
If young people do not speak up now about things that affect our lives, then we may not get a chance to grow up, because so many of those in charge are not thinking about the youth and our futures.
PS: Do you have any advice for other teens looking to make a change in their community?
If it is something that means a lot to you, go for it. Chances are there are other teens just like you that want the same changes and they are just waiting for someone else to take that first step.
PS: What do you think adults could learn from young activists right now?
It’s time to give the youth a seat at the table. It’s time to listen to us, learn from us, and follow our lead. Please stop telling us we don’t know what we are talking about because we are kids. In most cases we are fighting for our lives and our future.
PS: What other young people (activists, actors, etc.) inspire you?
So many activists inspire me, my best friend and fellow young activist Naomi Wadler is amazing, she uses her voice to speak up for Black girls that tend to get forgotten about. Yara Shahidi is also an amazing role model and friend. There are a couple of other youth activists in this campaign with GapKids, like Jermone Foster II and Levi Draheim. Both of them are fighting for this planet and refuse to give up, which is really inspiring.
PS: What gives you hope for the future?
Knowing that there is an entire generation of youth that is fearless when it comes to standing up for what is right.