Teenagers Rally for Climate Change outside Massachusetts State House

Protesters raise signs about climate change, March 15, 2019. (Anqi Zhang / BU News Service)

By Anqi Zhang
BU News Service

BOSTON – Starting from 11:00 am on March 15, teenagers from the Greater Boston Area gathered outside the front gate of Massachusetts State House. Youth speakers protested for demanding lawmakers to end climate change, and their movements attracted attention from passers-by around Boston Common.

Youth Climate Strike, a coalition founded by three teenager advocates, Isra Hirsi, Haven Coleman, and Alexandria Villasenor, ignited a fire to strike for climate change, and the fire was burning around the U.S. in solidarity with the worldwide youth strike. The crowd around state house is part of teenagers in Massachusetts and from around the world who picked up the torch and gathered for school striking. Amalia Hochman, 17, and Saraphina Forman, 16, are organizers of Massachusetts Youth Climate Strike.

The youth protesters demanded a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, that world leaders come together and act to ensure global warming remains under 1.5 degrees Celsius, and for U.S. leaders to implement the Green New Deal and other legislative actions, listed on their official Facebook page.

Rose Robinson (right) and Kate Storer (left) of Lynnfield display their signs at the Massachusetts State House, March 15, 2019. (Anqi Zhang / BU News Service)

Their plan was to lobby to the state representatives or state senators, and ask them to file recent bills promoting environmental protection or ask about what legislators are doing to curtail climate change, according to the electric document they shared there.

Youth advocates spoke out their claims, facing the packed crowd made up of teenagers and adults, and multiple handmade signs raised up by protesters stood out among people.

“Climate change has to go, ho ho, ha ha.”

“No more cold.” “No more cold.”

The chants inserted between speeches ran with the beat played by the band. The followers repeated it again, and the sound could be heard on the other side of the state house.

Police officers stood outside the crowd and guaranteed the sequence. They were particularly arranged there before the strike, said one officer who spoke to BU News Service.

Rose Robinson and Kate Storer are juniors from The Governor’s Academy in Newbury. They skipped their spring break and took a 30-minute train to Boston instead.

Two girls reflected their love for trees and oceans on the handmade signs, which reads “I speak for the trees. They are trying to solve the problem we created!” “Ocean and People Together WE RISE.”

“I spent almost an hour trying to come up with this,” Storer laughed. “It was the best I can do.”

Protesters raise signs and rally for climate change, March 15, 2019. (Anqi Zhang / BU News Service)

Among a group of students from Concord-Carlisle Regional High School, Ariel Waldman, a senior student, had a lot to say about climate change.

Waldman was spurred a lot by her teacher on the AP Environmental Science class, who is actively making the move, such as encouraging students to bring their own bottle and using a kind of monogram to display how many plastic bottles they have saved, she said.  

Several members from Mothers Out Front, a group which comprises mothers advocating for actions against climate change for their children’s future, joined the teenagers.

A crowd waits in line to enter the State House after the rally, March 15, 2019. (Anqi Zhang / BU News Service)

“I am one of those who don’t [come here], who is fighting the fight to deal with this climate crisis, and I support these students,” said Pattie Heyman, one of the mothers. “They shouldn’t have to inherit a mess that our generation created.”

Gilda Gussin, another mother, believed teenagers have power.

“I am very excited about this, because children can really influence adults,” she said.

Tina Halfpenny, who runs a green team at an elementary school, took her child to the strike skipping out on his lunch.

Halfpenny believed that children like her son know what is happening to animals and the earth, and they are “sensitive and worried.”

“You can’t go to a zoo or an aquarium hearing about plastics in the environment,” she said,  explaining why she took her son there.

The strike began at 11:00 a.m., and lasted to around 1:00 p.m. After that, some participants stayed there and waited in line to enter the state house.

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