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Global Youth Climate Strike Inspires Students in DC

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

by Ethan W.

Youth protestors gathering in front of the US Capitol prior to the rally

On Friday, March 15, children and teenagers engaged in school walkouts, strikes, protests, and other events to assert their position in the climate change policy debate. As part of the global Fridays for the Future movement, started by youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, students in Washington, D.C. and around the globe left school to protest in support of anti-climate-change measures to help protect the world they will grow up to live in.

Washington D.C.’s event, attended by a large and passionate crowd of change-hungry students, was held in front of the Capitol building, and led by a group of all-female youth activists including Youth Climate Strike national directors Haven Coleman and Isra Hirsi. Hirsi, 16, is also the daughter of freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, recently in the news for her insensitive comments about Jews, who also spoke at the rally.

Representative Ilhan Omar speaking at the Youth Climate Strike rally in DC

Before Representative Omar delivered her speech, however, numerous high school students spoke about their initiative to lead the event. Many discussed the inaction of past generations, and the resulting need for our generation to act before climate change grows beyond our ability to combat it, a time many of the speakers asserted to be 2030, just 11 years away. As one youth activist put it, “We have no choice but to be the generation that creates change.” The speakers also voiced their support for proposed laws such as the Green New Deal and Maryland’s Clean Energy Jobs Act.

Hopeful of the possibility of their impact on lawmakers, the rally’s organizers also led the protesters in numerous chants, “System change, not climate change!” and “Stop denying the earth is dying” among them. Another call-and-response was: “Whose water?” “Our water!,” “Whose air?” “Our air!,” “Whose future?” “Our future!,” “Whose lives?” “Our lives!,” “Whose planet?” “Our planet!”

Whether the strikes will have an affect on lawmakers’ actions is yet to be seen. Hopefully, the passion and commitment shown by youth protesters this Friday will inspire them to realize the importance of climate change, especially to those who when given the power before long will not be afraid to, as one chant used at the rally said, “Vote them out!”


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