Winner: Leandra Mira
Since May, 18-year-old Leandra Mira has spent every Friday afternoon sitting outside the City-County building advocating for action against climate change. Mira is part of the global youth-led movement, made famous by Greta Thunberg, who understand that climate change is no longer a theoretical or distant problem. Though she started alone, Mira’s strike has attracted supporters in person and online. “In a year, if we keep doing this every Friday, we’ll get to a place where there’s hundreds of kids or thousands of kids,” Mira told Pittsburgh City Paper in June. In September, Mira spoke in front of hundreds of Pittsburgh protesters as part of the Global Climate Strike, when millions of young people around the world walked out of school and work as a call to action. Every city needs someone like Mira, who is part of a long history of young people who understand that their age is not a hindrance, but instead invigorates them with an urgent and clear-eyed sense of purpose.