Kibiriti Majuto tackles climate change and other social issues in the United States

Kibiriti Majuto tackles climate change and other social issues in the United States

At just 20 years old Kibiriti Majuto is the chief author of a well-known climate change action movement and politically engaged in his community.

Kibiriti Majuto is a young man that is hard to miss in his adopted home of Charlottesville, Virginia. Majuto was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but later fled to South Africa with his family to escape the violence. Just 7 years ago, they arrived in Charlottesville from South Africa as refugees. Although Majuto recalls being popular in high school and receiving a warm welcome, being a refugee came with a unique set of growing pains. His experiences in America also made him aware of many social issues.

Majuto recalls that many things in America were as he imagined them to be, however, many things were not. He was surprised at the rampant poverty and inequality in the country, especially for people of color. He was also saddened to see, that while the majority of scientists believed in climate change, the government was slow to act. It was then that Majuto decided to become more politically engaged in his adopted home country.

While still in high school, Majuto lobbied for the rights of Syrian refugees.

He also became involved in the 2016 elections, phone banking for the Hilary Clinton and speaking out against anti-immigrant sentiment. After the elections, Majuto stayed politically engaged, this time for his other great concern, climate change.

Majuto joined the climate change action platform, Zero Hour, started by the then 16-year-old Jamie Margolin.

Zero Hour is a platform that Majuto and others have been using to propose solutions to climate change that are also socially aware. For instance, in addition to proposing buses that run on cleaner fuel and fines for fossil fuel pollution, Zero Hour also wants to make those buses accessible to the physically disabled and wants to use the money from fines to help socially disadvantaged areas.

The unique perspective of Zero Hour’s leaders, who are people of color and some refugees, is important.

More than anyone, they understand the value of climate change movements that are inclusive, fair and feasible.  Majuto fighting for the fair treatment of his adopted countrymen, proving once again what serious talent and passion refugees bring to their adopted homes.

Refugees shaking hands

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About Akudo McGee
Akudo McGee is a recent graduate from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. McGee has a Masters degree in European studies. Her field of focus is forced migration.