A Day In The Life Of A Youth Activist During “Green Week”

In Trailblazers: Diaries From The Front Lines Of The 2020 Election, we take an in-depth look at the lives of women working behind the scenes to make our country better every day, whether it’s on a presidential campaign or political advocacy organization.
Name: Alexia Lewis
Occupation: Digital communications associate and administrator for social media influencer program, NextGen America; senior, Hampton University
Age: 21
Gender Identity: Woman
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Social Media Handles: @alexial___ on Twitter and Instagram

Monday, April 20, 2020

7 a.m. — Now that I'm staying home, I still normally get up at 7, get breakfast, and get going. I don't have virtual classes every day anymore, so sometimes I like to start work at NextGen America a little bit earlier — just to get more hours in so I don't have to work until 8 p.m. I get up, drink a lot of fluids, and try to stay as healthy and positive as I can.
8 a.m. — I love to stay active in the house by stretching — I usually do trapeze yoga, but the studio near my house closed due to COVID-19, and regular yoga isn't as fun. I also love to dance; I was really into dance in high school. So I'm learning dances from the internet that I've always wanted to pick up to my favorite songs. I'm enjoying the musicality of it and just moving to feel joy.
9 a.m. — Today I'm doing schoolwork and wrapping up my final semester as a senior at Hampton University, which is an HBCU (historically Black school). I'm finishing up my thesis and then taking an online tennis course, which is always interesting. 
I am a first-generation college student, and neither my mother or father attended university. Plus, I’m an only child. So, getting to college was very tumultuous. I'm very passionate about education; my great-grandmother, who practically raised me, instilled it in me to keep going because she got pregnant at a very young age and had to stop going to school in eighth grade. Attending a HBCU has given me the opportunity to see the Black experience from so many different lenses. So one of the other issues I'm most passionate about is the right to an equitable life for marginalized people across this nation, specifically Black and brown people.
2 p.m. — After finishing my schoolwork, I work on projects for NextGen America, which includes continuing to do preparation around all the mini-campaigns that we are about to run. This week, we’re coming together to celebrate what we’re calling “Green Week.” But in addition to it being Green Week and being a celebration, we are taking the opportunity to ignite a movement and we’re organizing, educating, and mobilizing young people everywhere so they know that we have to demand and fight for climate justice as well as the legalization of marijuana and expungement of all marijuana-related charges. 
At NextGen, we’re doing some really, really, awesome things that I am excited about. On Friday, we are holding a virtual rave to celebrate Green Week and put some actionable asks out into the world. We have a lot of action pages on our website that allow young people to write a letter to or call their senator. In addition to that, I am working with the social media influencer program, where we are talking about everything from canceling student loan debt, to universal vote-by-mail, to legalization and expungement — and all of these things are becoming increasingly interconnected. 
This week, I'm giving as much support as I can to all the Green Week festivities that we have going on. Our design team has done some really amazing work on Giphy, making “We Demand Climate Action” GIFs. We also have Instagram filters you can look up by searching "NextGen America" in your filter box, which are just really exciting. I plan to be doing as much as I can digitally around climate change and Green Week, which means reposting and reposting, and telling my friends to repost, to get the word out.
One of my struggles these days is sometimes getting into a little daily funk of trying to push through all of this. But I feel like today is one of those days where, even though it’s raining outside, I feel really inspired and really motivated and excited by Green Week. Everything that we have worked for and pulled together is so good-quality. Just the color green that we chose is fire. So everything is really feeling sweet. I really feel connected to my generation more than ever in times like these. Because we are getting innovative, and we’re staying ambitious and optimistic during a time when so many think we should throw in the towel.
8 p.m. — I’m someone who really loves to absorb media and content, especially in video form. So after I'm done with work, I do that probably until about midnight, and then I go to sleep and wake up and do it all over again. I was waiting forever until Issa Rae’s Insecure was back, and now it's finally back, so I'm watching that. I also love to read. It's something I get a lot of relief from. My read for inspiration right now is Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change From Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House, which I just really love and which has given me so much mentorship in this fight — and so much inspiration and guidance as a young woman and a young woman of color who is fighting to chase this change that seems so huge, but that I’m making tangible in my mind. It's helpful for me to see that it is possible and that Black women before me have done it and have been fearless, especially at a young age.
I guess the only other thing I do for fun during these COVID-19 times is keeping my nails done, or trying to. I'll figure that out eventually. That’s gonna be a whole other experiment during this whole quarantine moment...
Happy Green Week. Don’t stop the fight.
VICE and Refinery29 are committed to ongoing coverage of the global climate crisis. Read all of Refinery29's sustainability stories, and check out more Earth Day 2020 content from Vice.

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