LA Youth Raise Their Voices For The Future
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The School Strike for The Climate worldwide march was this afternoon.
I was almost disappointed that the previous night had been cool enough to turn off the air conditioner.
It was the first time in 4 months.
The asphyxiating sensations of doom that usually come when the temperatures hit the high 90's here in Los Angeles were mercifully gone. Too bad, it would have perhaps helped the march if this was one of those days. There would be an inescapable reminder that would remind us of why a global statement was being made by those who will have to bear the destruction, pain and displacement that is coming faster than we ever publicly anticipated.
The rally took place at 12 noon at Pershing square with a march to LA City Hall.
By the time the rally was ready to march it's circuitous route to City Hall the crowd had been estimated by several LAPD officers at around 3000 people. It was a perfect California day.
Greta Thunberg the founder of School Strike for The Climate has stated that about 4 million people participated in the September 20th march worldwide.
The crowd here was mostly middle class family units with lot's of young people. Mom's and sons, Dads and daughters, grandparents, along with lone climate activists as young as 12 and as old as 90. There were very few manufactured signs, instead there was a volley of creative slogans that belied a certain panic.
However a sense of joy was present in this mostly young crowd. It was Friday noon and thousands of angry, worried but hopeful Angelenos were going to disrupt traffic for a bit and let the world know that there is concern here in the Southlands for the future of a livable planet.
Our fearless leader Donald trump was pilloried mercilessly in the signage. Some people's posters cited science, some morality but all alluded to a doom that will prevail if inaction persists.
The march started slowly, dodging construction work on Hill going onto Broadway. The chants started and you could see a torch being passed as young kids and teens picked up the “ This is what democracy looks like “ and other standard protest shouts that have been yelled in public for generations of American protests.
You could see this mattered to them.
Some kids looked terribly scared and concerned. Oddly enough I saw no crying children.
There was a strength in the crowd that seems to be present in most youth movements of consequence.; a strength that does not overly consider failure.
This must have been the vibe that permeated everything from The Children's Crusade to the Freedom Riders to the Rock and Roll founders to the Hip Hop generation to those students who have participated in every revolution we know of.
This Children's School Strike was given it's genesis in August of 2018 when a 15 year old Greta Thuneberg started taking off school on Fridays and picketing outside of the Swedish parliament with a sign that read “ Skolstrejk For Klimatet “ which translates to School Strike for the Climate “. Eventually other kids joined her and they took the protest to their own localities under the moniker of “Fridays For The Future “. Greta addressed the 1918 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the protests occurred weekly throughout the world after that.
In 2019 before the September 20th march there were several multi-city marches that that Thuneberg inspired with a million participants each.
The Los Angeles protest was spirited , with kids leading the chants and making their point to the afternoon traffic they were interrupting. They were communing with each other across school districts and ignoring the protocol of the quiet and the polite.
These kids were yelling for their lives.
They were alarmed and now they could scream in public. They were not being relegated to their bedrooms , kitchens or classrooms.
The protesters marched to City Hall where these citizens assembled spontaneously on the steps. Mayor Garcetti eventually came out in his shirtsleeves to greet the kids and speak about the steps LA is taking to combat Climate Change.
As usual City Hall lawn became a place to organize and recognize each other. It was a happy moment with a backdrop of possible doom that simmered just below the surface.
Robert Stuart Lowden
Los Angeles September 20th , 2019
Original: Los Angeles Youth School Strike For The World Climate Crises