This evening at 7:00 pm est, Ed Markey gathered many of the nation's climate leaders to hold a free rally over zoom. During this rally, a number of topics were brilliantly discussed by an inspiring lineup of speakers including Mike Seigal, Muriel Reid, Evan Webber, Julie Oliver, and the two queens of legislation, Dr. Anaya Johnson and Representative Ayanna Pressley. There were many others that spoke and many others that I will mention, but these were only the speakers. The real power was within the listeners. As many of the speakers mentioned, the listeners, the American people, swelled with passion and fire for a sustainable future. It is inspiring to witness the power of the American people that dream for a better, cleaner, and brighter future. If you missed the rally, do not fret because I will be doing a point by point summary of the ideas spoken tonight, and if you were an attendee, let's relive tonight in its glory one last time before this Tuesday's election night.
A candidate for the New York 17th district kicked off the night, after his warm welcome from my king, Senator Markey. He spoke about the urgency of climate reform, in which he could not be more accurate. Every day that we do not take action in our streets, our towns, our polls, and our country is a day wasted and a day we can no longer put toward the victory against climate change. Jones spoke about the days ticking away on the clock and how the re-election of Donald J. Trump would be one of the most devastating hits to climate reform. Trump's mind is everywhere except climate change; in fact, he does not even own a remote plan to improve the country's emissions of greenhouse gasses, which not nearly close to net-zero. Joe Biden's plan, however, puts the country at net-zero by the year 2050, with the use of 2 trillion dollars for the production of clean energy. Joe Biden had heard the youth and the people, and in return, he has formed a plan to cater to our demands. Biden acknowledges the power of the youth and the American people, while Trump refuses to acknowledge scientific facts.
Randi Weingarten, Olivia Geiger, and Rani Chor
These three immediately followed Jones's powerful endorsement for Biden. They primarily focused on the youth's power to make a difference, but one thing that caught my attention, in particular, is a quote Olivia made, " 'Disaster demanded a new dawn. Only thinking can lead to a new dawn.'- Zadie Smith." This quote is so powerful, especially in this upcoming week. If 2020 knows anything, it knows disaster, but this week, November 3, is a time for "new thinking". We are challenged to boot up and head to the polls and decide what our future will look like. This election especially, will not only affect our next for years but the youth's upcoming future. We have 10 years to reach environmental sustainability, as Mondaire Jones said, our clock is ticking. This election serves as a fork in the road, left or right. The right choice can lead us to a happier cleaner earth, but the wrong choice can push us to an unsustainable future that cannot be undone.
I liked Ro Khanna. He kept his message short and sweet:
- Donald Trump is holding us back from the right direction
-let's get the Presidency, Senate, and House
-" The sky is the limit for us"
Zanagee Artis and Johan Gottlieb
These two young men took part in this rally to inspire the youth to take action in whatever way that they possibly can. They are both very active and bust activists. Gottlieb even still had ash on his pants from the Santa Monica glass fire, and Zanagee is the founder of an organization named Zero Hour. To see their hands-on environmentalism a force that the word inspiring barely can touch. Their pride for their work is extremely contagious and is the pride that I try to incorporate into my work daily. While their message was pretty cut and dry, it was one of the most important ones tonight. The youth can and will be heard. There is no age minimum on activism, so join the movement. I am sure that their comments tonight will have a strong and lasting impact on my attitude towards the election. I encourage you. Go out and tell everyone who is willing to listen, maybe even those who really aren't. Make your voice heard because it can and will have an impact on all of our futures.
Next up was Tennesee's own Marquita Bradshaw, besides making Tennesse and southern history, she is one bada** women with one h*ll of a plan. She is the speaker of my love language, environmental racism. People of color are disproportionally hurt by environmental issues, and no one seems to want to talk about it, except Marquita. Marquita recalled an inspiring anecdote: When she was younger, she could see the problems in her community. She seemed confused about why no one was going to fix them, so her mother told her " If you are the one asking ' why isn't anyone doing something' then you are more than likely the one who needs to take action". So she did, she ran for office and is now implementing active legislation to provide environmental justice to lower-level income communities. Marquita has supplemented our fight against the imbalance of the environment. She advocates for sustainable farming, health-related environmental issues, and most importantly her people. By realizing that people's health and the environment are interconnected, she fights the long and hard fight for equal representation of all races and incomes. Marquita Bradshaw is a true hero and deserves to be recognized for actions toward a better future. GO VOLS!!
Mike Siegal and Julie Oliver
Both Mike Siegal and Julie Oliver are on a mission to turn Texas blue one vote at a time. What is inspiring about their actions is their disregard for the status quo or "norm" of their state. In Texas, the words "green new deal" is political suicide. Much like the early Biden administration, democratic politicians try to avoid these words as they are "radical" and " too far to the left", but not these two. These two have presented the climate stage at the forefront of their platforms, where it should be. They speak openly about the problem at hand and educate citizens on why the Green New Deal is not a radical agenda. They tell the people how the Green New Deal is the key to the future, how it will provide millions of jobs, and how it will boost the economy rather than tear it down. I commend these two for their hard labor to turn Texas blue, and cannot wait to see the fruits of their labor come this Tuesday night.
Dr. Ayana Johnson
Dr. Johnson, how I can never sing your praises enough. You may officially call me a fangirl. Tonight Dr. Ayana was very specific about her topic and chose one of her favorite niches, her Blue New Deal. As a marine biologist(and legislation lover), Dr. Ayana Johnson composed a climate action plan for our oceans-amazing I know. Her plan includes wind farms as a renewable energy source, regenerative farming and, an emphasis on increasing protections for and restoring coastal ecosystems. She encouraged voters to put an emphasis on their down ballots as well, as the real changes start locally. She warned listeners to pay attention to their local leaders and what they stood for. The real change happens with the voters, so vote for someone that represents the changes you want to see.
I do not think I own the vocabulary to articulate the power in Muriel's speech. wow. I am taken aback. If there is one dialogue I recommending listening to, it is hers. Muriel spoke of the disproportionate effect that climate change has on indigenous people. As she is an indigenous woman herself, this is a topic that hits very close to her. As if indigenous people had not already been handed the short end of the stick, they are now refugees of their own home once again. I encourage you to go listen to her speech because my commentary even at its best cannot do it the justice it deserves. If I must hand out a gold star for the night, I would hand it to her. Please, give her speech a listen, I can guarantee you will not regret it.
Next up was Evan Weber, the founder of the sunrise movement. He spoke of the shift in voters this year, which is monumental. He articulated that the youth of this election has been more effective than ever, and if we wish to turn the page on climate change, this is the place to start. This election is imperative to the climate movement and counts as an essential piece to reform. While all of this is true, the real work is what we do after November 3rd. The legislation passed, the actions taken, they are what's going to earn us a green future.
Rounding off the brilliant night, Ayanna Pressley gave a warm, passionate, and heartfelt speech about the power that resides in all of us. She called for leaders to rise up everywhere and take control of our future. She spoke about the occurring election as a war between enmity vs. compassion and illustrated how urgent our actions, actions of love, need to be. She ended with this very empowering point: a cultural shift with enough love and action will turn into a power shift and then a legislative shift. The way to see a change in legislation is to go and vote; we need to put all of our power behind this movement to get the legislation this earth is so desperately crying out for. This election, go and vote.
During the rally, there were many other speakers, musicians, and ideas shared, but these were just the ones that stuck out in particular to me. The music group Lake Street Drive featured their brand new music video of "Making Do Made", which was absolutely phenomenal. Kim and James Taylor made a guest appearance. Overall, the night was a beautiful night, which called for action, the action of all people, races, genders, and locations. Later, today I will be volunteering at a phone bank, and tomorrow I will be attending a protest. I encourage you, with whatever talents you possess, take action, and take it now. I have linked some helpful resources to aid you in taking action in your own lives:
There are plenty of ways to take action. Look at your strengths and get creative!
Of course, I need to link the man who made this all possible, Senator Ed Markey:
Go give this amazing rally a watch, you will not regret it