Youth Carry the Day at the Metro Detroit Climate Strike Kickoff

The Metro Detroit Climate Strike Kickoff of September 20th was enthusiastically attended by about 200 people. While this isn’t huge in comparison to the incredible number of participants around the world, it was significant and provides a small historic footnote.

Fully half of the participants were students and youthful. As Margie Carter said about the day, youths are making our hearts sing, and we need to honor those who are “no longer waiting for us to get over our paralysis”. The compassion and energy were palpable. One takeaway was stated as “if this movement dies, so does the planet”.

Beyond the fact that major movements and legislative changes have always featured youthful voices, it has also been necessary to be relentless and confrontational in the face of power and monied interests. That is why the Metro Global Climate Strike effort was decidedly placed in the heart of Oakland County. That’s a small historic footnote – it was a wakeup call espousing the intent to take on the affluent suburbs.

Attendees of Metro-Detroit Climate Strike

Committed Climate Strike People

The youth showed their commitment and understanding, and they demonstrate a way of life to take on and live through the climate threat. This showed when they chanted and took over the open microphone. They said the “planet is dying because of Congress and they know it”; some lamented they cannot yet vote but that they will pressure their parents and others until they have a safe place to live.

Detroiter Emma Lockridge was a featured speaker; she is an environmental organizer who lives in the predominantly Black neighborhood of zip code 48217, the most polluted site in Michigan. She says that too many of us are “canaries in the climate cage”, under oil assault as perpetrated by Chevron and Marathon. Everyone was touched by her acknowledgement that “the youthful turnout is what motivates and strengths us”.

Three of the attendants were a 3-week-old baby and her mother, and grandmother – an inspiring trio. Some of the innovative signs had real bite.

All of this comes in context of Republican efforts that are actively using climate denial as a loyalty test, and as a tool to keep their voting base intact. Hence, there is no choice but to carry on, as the Metro Detroit Climate Strike expects to do, with our wonderful youth!

Thanks to all the organizers, supporters, and attendees, including Michigan United and Indivisible Fighting 9th.