Seniors in Global Environmental Politics sit with their Subcommittee groups in class, organizing for the Zero Hour NYC Youth Climate March taking place on July 21st, 2018.
For the last few weeks, Beacon seniors in History teacher Bayard Faithfull’s Global Environmental Politics course have dedicated their last unit to organizing a Youth Climate March in New York City for July 21st, 2018 as part of the Zero Hour organization, a youth-led movement to combat climate change and support environmental justice.
The march will represent an international day of action. Students from New York City to Melbourne, Australia will take to the streets to call upon policymakers at every level of governance to separate themselves from the fossil fuel industry and support a complete transition to renewable energy.
In NYC, march participants will meet at 11:00am at Columbus Circle. From there, they will march to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza by the United Nations Headquarters, where organizers will hold an hour-long rally featuring high school and college students experienced in environmental activism.
Beacon students began organizing for the NYC march shortly after Mr. Faithfull introduced them to the Zero Hour march taking place in Washington, DC. One student, Ilana Cohen, reached out to Zero Hour’s organizers to inquire about a sister march in the city. After hearing that there was none, she and fellow senior Amy Torres became determined to organize their own. They currently serve as the Co-Head Coordinators of Zero Hour NYC. Their friends in Global Environmental Politics were eager to get involved in the march-organizing efforts. Now, the entire class is broken up into five official Subcommittees, each focusing on a different aspect of the march.
One of the students’ biggest objectives is to raise funds for the stage and sound system needed for the post-march rally. To do so, they have created a gofundme campaign and are encouraging their friends, families, and fellow Beaconites to donate and spread the word. Another one of their objectives is to maximize outreach to students outside of the Manhattan school circle. One Subcommittee is working to contact students in outer-borough schools, as well as to reach out to student social justice and activist organizations, to make the march as inclusive and intersectional as possible.
Seniors have also been putting their artistic skills to use. Several have created posters in support of the march, and a few plan on creating a larger mural with the arts-based organization People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street. One student, Sarah Leather, created a brief video emphasizing the need for action to protect the planet and support a sustainable future.
Already, the NYC march has attracted attention from lawmakers and activists alike. Recently, the City of New York tweeted in support of the student organizers’ efforts. Organizational partners for the NYC march include the People’s Climate Movement, 350 NYC, Alliance for Climate Education, and Sunrise Movement.
Even as their time at Beacon nears an end, the seniors plan on remaining engaged in march-organizing through July 21st. Senior Cristal Colon has found organizing for the NYC Youth Climate March to be a rewarding and eye-opening experience: “I have been able to meet a wide array of people and have interesting conversations. My favorite part about the whole thing is that I️ get to educate and learn form other teenagers.” She views the march as a unique way to call attention to the issue of climate change, one that is “detrimental in all aspects for our generation, as well as for our children’s generation.”
The students’ message is clear: the time for climate action is now. #thisiszerohour
You can learn more about Zero Hour NYC by visiting their website and social media handles (Facebook/Instagram: @thisiszerohour.nyc Twitter: @zerohournyc). To connect directly with the student organizers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can support Zero Hour NYC’s fundraising efforts by donating at www.gofundme.com/zerohournyc. Anyone interested can sign up to join a Zero Hour NYC Subcommittee or volunteer on-site during the July 21st march.