On April 29th, 2017 while 200,000 people marched in Washington, D.C. for the People’s Climate March, there were also 500 sister marches around the world. As soon as the march began, a very strong and apparent message was sent. In the forefront of the march were young people, accompanied by a banner held by African American youth from Newport News, Virginia. The next contingent was made up of indigenous people from across the country, then came the environmental justice communities, very evident in their blue t-shirts and banners, demanding healthy communities and environmental justice. There were also EJ representatives from WEACT and the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum, Black Lives Matter, historically black colleges and universities, and representatives from environmental justice communities from Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia as a southeast environmental justice coalition. Several groups from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi have already been involved in regional programs and activities.
As a follow-up to the People’s Climate March, these southern environmental justice organizations are committed to moving from mobilizing to organizing. They will be working together on several tactics an on an overall strategy in the coming months. Stay tuned for additional information.
Reflections from those in attendance:
“The People’s Climate March gave me hope for the future. The tens of thousands of people that were in attendance were overwhelming in the best way, and reiterated that the work we do is not in vain. It is moments like those that keep us all going.”
-Chynnah Tomlin, Made in Chynnah Creatives, Florence, SC
“I felt a lot of togetherness. We need to unite in the follow up work, and not let our efforts fall off by the wayside. We need groups to work together to keep things going forward in the future.”
–Loretta Slater, The Whitney M. Slater Foundation, Florence, SC
“I was overwhelmed with amazement at the variety of people that came together for the cause. If we can get that many people to join together for the greater good of our country on ONE particular day just imagine what we the people could accomplish as a whole! Phenomenal experience–no question!
–Brittany Newton, Student, Florence, SC
“The March was rejuvenating for my soul. I love the fact that with all the racial tension we came together as one. We want to save our planet so that future generations, our kids, can live on a safe planet.”
–Jalen Washington, Entrepreneur, Florence, SC.