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Muskan Walia

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The environmental issues are tied to my family and my community. I've talked to a lot of young people that are children of immigrants; we always think about how we can give back to our parents, and for a lot of young organizers, having the privilege to organize or learn about environmental justice is a way of giving back to their family and their parents’ sacrifice. My family disrupted and uprooted their lives to move to Utah, and now our lives are being disrupted and we're being forced to be uprooted because of environmental issues and lack of action. So that provides me a lot of motivation to act.

Muskan Walia is an organizer with Utah Youth for Environmental Solutions (UYES) where she provides environmental justice and direct action training to young people. UYES has organized a die-in and other actions on Great Salt Lake’s shores to bring attention to the crisis and the threats to young people’s futures. 

Walia’s family immigrated to the U.S. from India. Her experience as a first generation American informs her organizing. She can see the Great Salt Lake from her family’s home, and she loves gardening with her mom and grandma. However, those memories are also tainted by the impacts of the refineries in her neighborhood. Walia remembers her mom coughing non-stop while gardening in 2020. That year, Walia’s mom was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often referred to as COPD.

Muskan Walia
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