Historians often spend their entire lives tracing revolutions back to one event, one person, one emotion, one idea—but it never is just one. It’s many: many voices with a united goal.
This is a truth that 16-year-old Indian-American political activist, public speaker, and possible future president Riya Kataria knows and lives. She is a part of the youth activist revolution.
“I learned the word revolution at the age of five and ever since then, I’ve wanted to leave my mark on the world,” said Kataria.
Native to the San Francisco Bay Area, she’s learned that one of the best ways for her to be an effective activist is through speech.
“I never meant to find a home in speech and activism. All I remember is being loud and growing up in a mindset that never encouraged me to be quiet,” she explained. At 33.8 thousand Instagram followers and counting, she seems to be using her voice for the revolution.
As a high school junior, she has so far partnered with the International Congress of Youth Voices, co-founded a nonprofit speech coaching service, become a key player in an education reform student coalition called StudentsRise, climbed aboard the National Youth Team for the Women's March and, oh, lest we forget—met Former First Lady Michelle Obama last December while she was at ICYV.
With a resumé that already seems difficult to squeeze into one page, Kataria is still looking to the future, with every step in her path being revolutionary.
“I have a crazy dream. I want to become the youngest senator in history. There’s an election when I’m 26, and the minimum age to run in California is 25. It’s my goal to win that election.”
Keep an eye out for Kataria in your news ten years down the road. Or tomorrow. With a thousand projects in front of her and a million ahead, Kataria is ready to fuel the youth activism revolution of her generation.
“I used to have a million regrets and sometimes, I still do. But the one thing this interview gave me was hope. Hope that, no matter how bruised you may feel, life works out.”
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Editors: Ry Lei, Chloe Wen
Designers: Ndemazea Fonkem
Riya's Instagram: instagram.com/riyakatariax
Riya's Twitter: twitter.com/riyakatariax
Picket Fence Academy Website: picketfenceacademy.org
StudentsRise Instagram: instagram.com/thestudentsrise