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Voices from the Manchester Youth Climate Strike

Crowd of people outside city hall in Manchester, listening to a speaker talk about the climate crisis

Friday, September 20th, hundreds of young people and adults, including students and teachers from Proctor Academy, converged on Veterans Park in Manchester to take part in the first-ever Manchester Youth Climate Strike. Stonyfield Farm supported the event by giving away yogurt at the park, and people took selfies with Climate Warrior frames.

Ana Maria from Manchester said of the event, “The Global Youth Climate Strike is a great example of the power of the people to come together and take action for a cause that we all believe in; the preservation of this planet.  The Manchester Climate Strike was a huge success, but it alone will not stop climate change. We have to harness the energy we witnessed and shared and create an ongoing movement against those who are actively profiting from destroying our planet and the lives of our people.  Capitalism is the reason we and our earth are all suffering and only we as a unified mass movement of working-class and oppressed people can put an end to it.  I feel immensely honored to have taken part in organizing the Manchester Climate Strike and I’m certain that progressive mass movements will continue to develop in our communities”.

“Manchester is striking because the city does not need the Granite Bridge Pipeline transporting fracked methane gas along Lake Massabesic, threatening their water supply.  With projects like that in the works, it is clear that New Hampshire is not on the path to 100% clean, safe, renewable energy.  We are fighting to stop this harmful pipeline project and to shut down the last major coal-fired power plant in New Hampshire. We call on our elected officials to publicly oppose the Granite Bridge Pipeline project and to endorse the Green New Deal”, said Pipeline Resistance Organizer Jennifer Dube with 350NH.

Sixteen-year-old student Sofia Mendes said, “We cannot wait to take action because what we do in the next decade will determine the future of our planet.  Today we are showing these politicians that climate change is our top priority and we refuse to be silent until solutions that every citizen can participate in have been put into action until plastic bags are gone, machines run on natural resources, and the pH in the oceans stop rising each year. I want to grow up.  I want to go to college, to have children, and I want them to see this beautiful world one day.  Every generation faces a new challenge and this one is ours.”

“I would say that we’re running out of time, but the truth is that low-income communities, Black and brown communities, and indigenous communities have long been bearing the brunt of climate change and environmental injustices.  We cannot fully address the climate crisis without climate justice.  That’s why in this moment, we must center communities, like right here in Manchester, in our action”, said Braxton Brewington.

“Mayor Joyce Craig, I really appreciate what you’ve done for our city. You’ve brought new businesses in, revitalized downtown life, demonstrated compassion for our transitional and addicted neighbors, and secured millions in grants for public education.  I was so excited to be able to vote for you again this past Tuesday.  Everything I mentioned about Manchester previously can be mostly attributed to your work over the past two years.  With that said I am calling on you Mayor Craig, to support our city’s future and take a stand with us against the Granite Bridge Pipeline.  Manchester does NOT want more fracked gas in our city – or shipped off to ANY other community.  We will NOT tolerate the poisoning of our water supply. We need you to come along with us as we lead our state into a future of sustainable energy.  Manchester is more than capable of being the city to take that on”, said Alissandra Rodriguez-Murray, Regional Organizer with Rights & Democracy NH.

Katherine Leswing, a teacher and mother from Concord said “We must elect politicians who prioritize clean energy and don’t veto it, politicians who oppose building new pipelines for fossil fuels, and politicians who are behind shutting down the Merrimack Station Power Plant in Bow – the last operating coal plant in New England without a closing date. Politicians and their families will not escape the impacts of the global climate crisis, because WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!”

“I just have a few words to say. Reduce, reuse, REFUSE, recycle, and please save the planet”, pleaded Myrica Palm-Bechtel, third grade.

Later after marching to City Hall, children left behind lasting messages with chalk art, while protesters were given a call-to-action to shut down the Merrimack Generating Station, the last large coal plant in New England without a shutdown date.

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