Blazers rallied at the Capitol Building on March 15 as part of the International Climate Strike
Editor's Note: This is an ongoing story and will be updated as details become known or events unfold.
At 9:30 a.m., Blazers gathered at Blair and marched down Colesville Rd. to the Silver Spring metro station. As they walked, they chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, fossil fuels have got to go,” “What do we want? Climate action! When do we want it? Now!” and “Stay united, fight for our climate.”
Bella Garfield, a junior who takes AP Environmental Science at Blair, said that the environmental issues she has learned about this year have motivated her to take action. “I’ve always been passionate about the environment. I think it’s really important for us to start taking a stand for our future because we’re the ones who have to deal with this," she said.
Blair sophomore Jordan McAuliff is involved in the Montgomery County chapter of the Sunrise Movement and helped organize Blair’s attendance at the strike. She is passionate about the intersectionality of the movement and hopes she can continue working with others across the world to take action. “I’m really passionate about how intersectional this issue is and how climate change affects people of color disproportionately,” she said. “Hearing people tell those stories and explain why this so specifically matters to them is so inspiring.”
Sophomore Rekha Leonard is also here to speak up for government action. “I’m here because I think it’s ridiculous that people in our government don’t even think climate change is real, and I want to change that,” she said.
Students also participated in call-and-response songs led by the student organizers of the strike. “Let them hear us!” the organizers chanted. “We strike for a planet on which we can live and prosper. We are the first generation that will be impacted by climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.”
Cheers echoed as the organizers called for the youth to rise up against corporations contributing to climate change. “In 11 years, the damage from climate change can not be reversed, and that is something I simply choose not to accept,” speaker Karla Stefan, 14, said.
“It is so great to see so many young lives committed to making change... we are the next generation of voters, the next generation in congress and the last generation to reverse the effects of climate change. We have no choice but to be the generation that creates change,” one of the speakers said.
Haven Coleman, 12, is one of the co-directors of the National Youth Climate Strike. Accompanied by cheers from the crowd, she called on the protestors to act now to avoid future mass displacement.
Speakers at the rally included Ilhan Omar, Isra Hirsi and Havana Chapman-Edwards (known as the tiny diplomat). Chapman-Edwards called for climate activists to be inclusive in their advocacy, citing her experiences of climate injustice around the world.
The strikers wrapped up with 11 minutes of silence to represent 11 years left to take climate action, as well as 49 extra seconds to remember the lives lost in yesterday's New Zealand mosque shooting. At 1:30 p.m, students left as the rally dispersed.
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