Students Strike For Climate Change: Hear From Advocates Who Marched Through Manhattan

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St. John’s students filed into Manhattan to attend the Climate Strike last Friday Sept. 20, joining the crowd of about 60,000 people who attended. The crowd gathered in Foley Square and then took to the streets to march to Battery Park where the event concluded with a multitude of speakers and performers, including Greta Thunberg, the creator of the Fridays for Future movement.

The Fridays for Future movement is an international movement where school students take time off from school to march to raise awareness for climate change. The movement urges students to gather at their local town halls to peacefully protest actions that further  climate change and to hold public officials accountable.

The crowd marched with signs that had sayings such as:  “There is no plan(et) B,” and “Sea levels are rising and so are we!” Many St. John’s students joined the Fridays for Future movement by skipping their Friday classes to attend the Climate Strike … 

STUDENT QUOTES:

Kalote Joss, a senior Adolescent Education Major with a concentration in English. “I attended the Climate Strike in the city because it is something I care deeply about and I knew it was the best use of my time” said Joss.

“Fighting for the environment is not about performance. It’s not about posting, ‘we need change!’ and stopping there. It’s not about getting the right celebrities to endorse. While awareness advocacy is great, real changes in real lives are needed,” said Joss.“I’m studying to be a teacher, to help young people prepare for their futures. I need to know that they have one. Register to vote, show action that backs your words. We can make so much more of a difference than we even realize.”

“I attended the climate strike to support climate justice and help spread awareness of what is going on in the world today regarding climate. I wanted to be active in defending what I believe is right and I wanted to be heard and seen for doing so.” Hannah Ojendyk said, a sophomore Psychology major, who also attended the Climate Strike on Friday.

“Personally my family are victims of the effects of climate change. I felt as if I had to be there, that it was my responsibility to be there not only for my family, but also for all those who are suffering,” a passionate Gisela Santiago, advocate for environmental improvement, said.  “Going to the strike made me feel like I had a voice, that I was able to make a change, even if it was small in comparison to others.”

Jennalynn Fung, a freshman, is an environmental activist who participated in the global strike in lower Manhattan as a marshal. Fung was contacted by distinguished youth activist, Alexandria Villasenor, for her work with climate organization, Fridays For Future.  

Fung established the “Fridays for Futures” chapter in her hometown in Arizona. Its main goals are to hold corporations accountable for damaging the earth, eliminate the use of fossil fuels, and adopt the new green deal. She encouraged that it is the small acts that can make a difference like, “using a metal or paper straw instead of a plastic one.”

On the day of the protest, Fung, with about an hour commute, arrived slightly late to the protest beginning at Foley Square. She was soon surrounded by 250,000 people and marched to Battery Park. Excited to see how the protest unraveled, Fung found the march, “inspiring because not a lot of people talk about the environment.”

 

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