Youth organizers take over the streets of Chicago to demand for climate action
On Friday Sep 20, 2019 thousands of students in the Chicagoland area ditched their classrooms and took to the streets to demand U.S. government to increase their efforts to combat climate change.
“Our future is at stake, so what's the point of going to school if there is no future,” said Naomi Avillas, a student at Naperville Central High School, about missing school to attend the climate march.
Groups and organizations congregated on the Columbus and Roosevelt corner of Grant Park. They cheered the crowd marching and passed out signs to those who came bare handed to the rally. The groups of marchers at the staging area ranged from groups of friends that printed matching shirts to Catholic environmental groups and people calling for the dismemberment of the capitalistic economy in order to fix the climate. The one thing that all groups had in common was the mindset of a need for action to address climate change by world governments.
“Capitalism is the primary driver of the climate change that we are experiencing,” said Patrick McWilliams, a member of the Party of Socialism and Liberation. “The IPCC report that came out advocated and said it was necessary to have huge systemic change in the way our economy and society is run and we believe the only way that can be accomplished - especially given the short time frame we have - is with a socialist system.”
After a delay ordered by the police, the march was allowed to advance a few minutes past 11:30. Originally, the protest was supposed to proceed along the sidewalks parallel with Columbus Dr. but after the mass arrival of protesters police decided to shut down Columbus Dr. for pedestrian use. According to one police officer there was 1500 people in the rally by the time the march was ready to head out.
Protesters were crammed close to each other as inched their way toward Federal Plaza to listen to the organizers make their big speeches. Collectively they chanted things like: “When our plant is under attack what do we do? STAND UP FIGHT BACK” and “Hey you we want a future too”
After turning onto Van Buren St, the marchers squeezed closer together to fit between the towering skyscrapers, their cheers and chants echoing off the sides of building and energizing the crowd to chant louder.
After having marched through streets for over an hour, protesters amassed at Federal Plaza. There they met and combined with the Amazon protest from earlier in the day, their protest sought to to pressure on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to confront the climate crisis Youth leaders took central stage and addressed audience.
“Today we are making history,” said Samantha Arechiga. “It is weird that are leading this movement, although I wish we did not have to. I wish that our leaders our politicians prioritized our future over money, I wish they had already taken action to help this human caused climate change, I wish we did not have to strike, I wish we did not have to strike, I wish we could be learning in the classroom right now.”