By Anna Stjernquist
BU News Service
BOSTON — At least 27 people were arrested after hundreds gathered for the Boston Climate Strike, happening in solidarity with a national day of climate activism Friday afternoon, officials said.
“We’re here because Gov. Baker refuses to talk to us. We’re here to demand a Green New Deal and we’re here to demand change,” Ross Quinn, a youth activist from the Sunrise Movement said during protests held outside Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s office at the Statehouse Friday.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Copley Square Friday morning to join the nationwide strike against climate change. Students, along with people of all ages and backgrounds, marched together toward the Statehouse in the fight to make Massachusetts’ Green New Deal a reality in 2020.
From noon until 5 p.m., students and protesters rallied with chants and cheers outside Baker’s office.
“We’re still pushing for the policies that we want to see. We’re especially interested in getting Gov. Baker on our side. He hasn’t been receptive to our movement and we need his support to declare a climate emergency,” said Isabelle Goodrich, a spokesperson for the Boston Climate Strike Team.
The official strike ended at 2:30 p.m., but youth activists from the Sunrise Movement continued action until around 6 p.m., risking arrest for trespassing.
The Massachusetts strike is backed by the national grassroots organization Sunrise Movement, and took place just one week after the second Global Climate Strike on Black Friday, when youth climate strikers rallied across America.
Like the previous strikes, this was coordinated with support from several other state and nationwide nonprofits fighting for social justice and climate change.
The Green New Deal, first proposed by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and Boston University alumnus Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in February, outlines major financial and structural changes that need to happen to slow down climate change within the deadly deadline of 10 years.
Boston City Council passed a resolution supporting the New Green Deal by a 9-3 vote in April despite a unanimous Senate kill vote of 57-0 in late March.
The resolution demands a complete switch to zero emissions and renewable energy with reformed transportation infrastructure and limited greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
Slowly but surely, the strikes are having an impact.
Ever since the first global climate strike in September, membership has surged, said Vignesh Ramachandran, climate organizer at 350 Mass, a nonprofit helping support December’s strike.
“We’ve really benefited from a swell of people, and we want to continue that momentum to build up this movement so that we can call for real political change in state and national legislation,” Ramachandran said.
Ramachandran said the strikes tends to draw people from across generations, incomes and communities, which will be ideal for raising awareness on the climate debate.
“We know that it will take all of us to build a movement to solve this crisis and that’s been one of our focus points,” she said.