Youth demand motion as World Local weather Strike takes over Portland

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(Scenes from at the moment’s Youth Local weather Strike. Photographs: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Should you thought the Youth vs. ODOT rally that’s been occurring since April was the exception to the rule in the case of excessive schoolers being engaged in local weather change activism, you have been very unsuitable.

Right this moment 1000’s of Portland excessive schoolers walked out of sophistication, hopped on buses and bikes or sidewalks, and met on the Oregon Conference Heart for the Portland Youth Local weather Strike. It was an inspiring turnout for anybody who cares in regards to the planet. And a reminder to elected officers that younger persons are coming for them in the event that they don’t make planet-friendly selections.

It was not simply a possibility for younger individuals to flex their activist muscle tissue, it was a community-building occasion. Audio system emphasised the necessity to work collectively to tackle the problem of local weather change. One speaker from Cleveland Excessive College stated, “I want to thanks for coming… The local weather activists, the anti-establishment protester, the one that was simply pressured into doing this, even the one that’s coming right here to skip math class. Whether or not or not you’re conscious, you’re an vital a part of this motion.”

Right here’s a number of of the indicators I noticed:

Additionally at at the moment’s occasion there was deep frustration with adults and elected officers for not doing extra, sooner. I used to be additionally very impressed by the substance and smarts expressed by the audio system. There was no admonishment about particular person selections. These children are pushing for systemic change. They usually get it. They perceive that at its root, local weather change is uncontrolled due to governments that aren’t doing sufficient and big companies that put income over individuals.

I used to be additionally heartened to listen to and see a robust transportation-related component among the many protestors. The march deliberately stopped at ODOT Area 1 headquarters and chants included: “What do we wish? No extra freeways! When to we wish it? Now!”. There was a number of anti-free and anti-car sentiment.

One speaker who wore a Dawn PDX stated she demanded an instantaneous moratorium on freeway constructing. “We should cease increasing freeways. It’s time to cease making room for automobiles! It’s time to cease selling automobiles that emit harmful emissions into our ambiance. It’s time to make public transportation accessible for each particular person in Portland. It’s time to put money into pedestrian and bike infrastructure. It’s time!”

There was additionally a robust, anti Ted Wheeler vibe. Wheeler, Portland’s unpopular mayor, is going through a recall and there have been a number of Complete Recall t-shirts within the crowd. One of many audio system, addressing the group on the steps of Metropolis Corridor, lamented the inaction of Wheeler and his friends because the final youth local weather march. “That is our metropolis corridor!” one of many audio system shouted. After which she led the group in a chant of “Ted let’s speak! Ted let’s speak!”

Organizers set out 5 chairs (under) with the names of Wheeler and the 4 different Portland metropolis commissioners on them. It was a symbolic gesture as a result of the chairs remained empty for all the occasion.

Danny Cage (above), the 16-year-old youth committee chair of the NAACP Portland chapter, member of Dawn PDX, and an organizer engaged on the Ted Wheeler recall, was probably the most participating audio system of the day. He inspired the group to not heart whiteness (as nice as Greta Thunberg is) and to do not forget that the basis causes of local weather change are constructed on a bedrock on white supremacy. Cage additionally quoted Malcolm X and warned of being happy with incremental progress within the title of “wins”.

Cage acquired a rousing response when he stated, “We should cease being snug with small, symbolic wins within the title of progress. As Malcolm X as soon as stated, ‘Should you stick a knife in my again 9 inches and pull it out solely six, there is no such thing as a progress. Should you pull it out all the way in which it’s not progress. Progress is therapeutic the wound that the knife made they usually haven’t even pulled it out, a lot much less healed the wound. They received’t even admit the knife is there.’

“We should cease ready for a revolution,” Cage proclaimed. “As a result of we’re in a single.”

Try extra photographs from the occasion under:

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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