Spokane activists joined their peers around the world today [Friday] in conducting a climate strike. Several hundred people began with a brief rally at the Rotary Fountain in Riverfront Park, snaked their way through downtown and convened again at City Hall.
Students from the Mead High School drum group hammered out a rhythm as people, young and old, some carrying signs, filed into the Tribal Gathering Place next to City Hall. People participated in a call-and-response chant, “Stand Up”, “Fight Back.”
This was an event driven by the energy of the young people in the crowd. North Central High School student Hope Henning set the tone early. She criticized adults who tried to tamp down conversation in school about climate change because it’s too controversial.
“Where else are we going to have those analytical, breakthrough, problem-solving conversations? Those bipartisan, thought-provoking, polite debates that are sorely lacking in the world today?” she asked.
Native speakers reminded the crowd that the land on which they were sitting was inhabited by indigenous people for hundreds of years. Others reminded people about the power they have in carrying forward the climate message. And then the man who made his presidential campaign all about climate got a hero’s welcome.
“The power of this movement, which has truly changed the national and the international debate comes from a moral purpose. And that is, when a 12-year-old person looks at a 60-year-old person and says, ‘you know what, you don’t have the right to ruin my future," he said, drowned out by cheers.
Inslee said he’s heading to New York this weekend to meet Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. For many, she has become one of the heroes of the climate movement and an important role model for her peers.