XRPDX rebels were proud to stand with (and drive behind) thousands of youth climate activists, for the Global Climate Strike organized by Portland Youth Climate Strike, on September 24, 2021. This was the Friday chosen by the international Fridays For Future movement, and Portland, Oregon turned out one of the largest – if not THE largest – school strikes of mostly high school students in the United States.
The “World on Fire Truck” had been specifically requested to appear. Some of our folks made a large “YOUTH Climate Strike” banner to fly from the top of the repurposed fire truck. We were also asked to drive a few cars at the rear of the march, from the Oregon Convention Center to City Hall, to protect the marchers from vehicular traffic. We were happy to give that support, as well as march as a small contingent with our “Courage Is Contagious” banner.
After we crossed the river on the Steel Bridge, stopped at Oregon Department of Transportation for some vigorous “Climate Leaders Don’t Widen Freeways!” chanting, and walked the length of Broadway through Old Town and downtown (to mostly honks and cheers of support), we arrived at City Hall.
No Mayor Wheeler or City Councilmember was there to greet the thousands of fired-up young folks, angry about hypocrisy and inaction by the city government. Five empty chairs represented the elected officials. Youth spoke their minds by saying “We should be in math class, not out here on the street trying to get adults to care about our future!” One young man made the observation that Greta Thunberg is amazing, don’t want to disrespect her, but there have been and are Black and Indigenous people taking action and leading on climate – we just don’t hear about them. “We are in a Climate Emergency! No more widening freeways! ” the chant rang out.
Every Friday at Cleveland High School the strike for climate continues.