Global Climate Strike, New York City : September 20, 2019
On Friday September 20, 2019 with camera in hand, I headed downtown to lower Manhattan to march with the kids. I had an assignment for West Side Rag in the morning, but it was important to me that I not miss this moment in our history.
NYC schools had excused students from school to attend the strike, rightfully so. Climate activist Greta Thunberg had just arrived to New York City on a boat ahead of the U.N. General Assembly — there was a lot going on. Work suddenly became extremely busy for me as well, but I knew this was a moment I couldn’t miss.
Crowds and protests generally make me a little anxious, it seems in today’s world anything can happen. But the angrier I become about the state of our politics, our planet, and our country, the less anxious I am when attending protests. Action becomes less of a choice and more of a duty. Silver lining, I suppose.
I arrived outside Foley Square to a crowd of thousands. Something about this strike felt different. I walked among the crowd by myself. Taking it all in, listening to the conversations. Mostly kids, but a considerably diverse crowd in terms of age. I spot a group of baby boomers with guitars, singing songs from another era of protest. Woodstock, Vietnam, Civil Rights. Their children and grandkids looking on with tambourines in hand they all sing,“The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.” I come close to tears.
I overheard two young men behind me having an in-depth conversation about fossil fuel emissions. I was impressed. I turned around to see these young men couldn’t have been any older than 15 — this was not your average protest.
The kids were here for themselves, for their futures. They weren’t just concerned, they were generally pissed off. There was a directness and immediacy to their action. They are fed up.
I hear one young woman yell “We’re not here to f'**k around. We need the grownups to do something because they’ve been failing us for 30 years.” I am an “elder millennial” having been born into the Reagan administration, and then graduating college in the aftermath of 9/11 just a few short years before the U.S. economy collapse, so all I can think is — “no arguments here!”
Are the kids going to save us all? They shouldn’t have to, but God I hope they can.
All images ©Michelle Kinney Photography /Minnie Kinney LLC
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