Fifteen-year-old Emma Bray came from Denver. Dianne Lloyd, older but equally passionate, came from lower Manhattan. Jummy Olagondoye and others in her Environmental Justice League group came from Providence, Rhode Island. Justine Kruse, a California native, came with a friend. They joined 300,000 others to march through Manhattan to urge policymakers to pay attention to climate change. Passion fueled this Climate Change march and brought people from many cultures to share ideas together and speak in one voice for a few hours.
“It’s extremely important. It’s our world and earth being contaminated by all the horrible industries. It’s affecting people every day,” 15-year-old Emma said with authority. She come to New York with friends and family and mingled with the colorful crowd that gathered in front of the Javits Center on the far West Side of Manhattan.
Dianne Lloyd carried a sign demanding “Jobs. Justice. Clean Energy.” The march was like her sign. Something for everyone with a progressive bent. A little bit of something positive for all. But Lloyd’s anger bubbled over. “There’s no question the climate is changing in a way that is already destructive to human beings, and people have to speak up,” she said. “I really hope people in Congress see this and listen to our voices and do something meaningful.”
A block or so away on Eleventh Avenue, Jummy Olagondoye and her Rhode Island group carried signs and felt glad to embrace the larger movement. “It’s good to support a movement like this for the future. We are the future. It’s really important that we all work together,” she said.
Some joined the togetherness, but remained apart to define their culture and identity. A group with origins in Mexico marched wearing colorful headdresses and native dress. Daisy Bugarin marched at the head of the formation and guided the group as they formed a circle around a large paper mache figure that symbolized the earth. Some were from Mexico City, others live in New York, but Daisy said, “We’re Mestizos. Indigenous Mexicans.”Inside the circle they lighted incense around the figure. A drummer sounded the call and dancers shared their passion and the universal call for attention to the needs of the earth.