About 200 marches for the Pittsburgh Sunrise movement for climate justice | News | Pittsburgh
Hundreds of people gathered in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh on September 24 at noon for the Pittsburgh Sunrise movement for climate justice to protest more action to fight climate change. Crowds marched from Oakland to the downtown City Council Building, reaching around 200 people.
The strike encouraged students and workers to quit their classes or work early in the afternoon. During the march and rallies, speakers highlighted the intersections of climate justice with other issues, such as struggles for racial justice, migrants and indigenous people, unions and housing for all.
Sunrise Movement Pittsburgh, a youth movement dedicated to stopping the climate crisis, has listed five demands for the strike, including youth representation in local climate decisions, the county fracking ban Allegheny and the taxation of large entities like UPMC and fossil fuel companies to finance green infrastructure. The organization also demanded the shutdown of Line 3, an oil sands pipeline in Minnesota, and a just transition to 100% renewable energy and green jobs that pay a living wage.
“Whatever your political orientation, whatever your position on the climate, this conversation is for all of us,” said Ilyas Khan, organizer of the Sunrise Movement Pittsburgh, who skipped a biology quiz to attend the strike. “We are a country that has the power and the resources to make a real difference now and to help ourselves and help save the planet as a whole from potential ecological devastation.”
The strike began with land recognition for Indigenous peoples, including the Adena, Monongahela, Delaware, Shawnee, Seneca and Osage, before seven members of the Raging Grannies – a social justice group – performed songs about the fight against climate change. The crowd then moved up Bigelow Boulevard and turned towards Fifth Avenue, slowing down to allow older members of the crowd to keep pace.
Khan and other organizers launched chants such as “1, 2, 3, 4, fossil fuels are upon us, 5, 6, 7, 8, Green New Deal in every state,” “Climate justice is indigenous justice “and” Give us a Green New Deal, climate change is real. “The crowd stopped twice, at Robinson Street and in front of PPG Paints Arena. People rested, watched skits on how to react in interactions with police and sang with the Democratic Socialists of America and Pittsburgh Labor Choir member Edwin Everhart, who played guitar.
“It was my first event, and it’s one of my biggest responsibilities to act on the basis of my knowledge,” says Vanshika Bhaiya, who studies architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. “This is one of the questions that excites me the most. I think it’s something that you have to integrate into your daily life, but especially for me, even in my future profession.
The crowd reached the City County Building shortly after 2 p.m., where a dozen speakers shared their support for the Green New Deal and the importance of mutual aid and intersectional international efforts for climate justice.
“Climate is linked to just about everything,” says Maren Cooke, who is a leader of Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), 350Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastics, among others. Cooke spoke about the link between climate and air quality, plastics and human health, and the importance of further action. “Civilization faces unprecedented challenges, but it is also a time of historic opportunity. Take it.
The strike ended with a land reconnaissance and the Pittsburgh Sunrise movement distributed scripts to call representatives about the Pennsylvania House Bill 1555, which would create more options for consumers for local and renewable electricity, and Pennsylvania Senate Bill 435, which would help develop infrastructure for electric vehicles.
“Demonstrating is not the end here. It’s a way to the end, where the end is climate justice, climate action, ”says Elise Silvestri, coordinator of the Sunrise Movement Pittsburgh. “The next thing to do from here is get organized.”