Meet 7 Millennials of Color Making a Difference with The Peoples Climate Movement

The Peoples Climate March is a march for climate, jobs and justice. It’s about intersectional movement building, intergenerational struggle, and the right to clean water, breathable air, and economic opportunity. These leaders demonstrate not only the breadth of our collective, but the wisdom of our cause. We all have much to learn from why they march.

Jeremiah Lowery, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (Washington, D.C.)

What does the People’s Climate Movement mean to you?

It means the union movement, environmentalists, community groups and neighbors coming together to let the world know that it’s time to get organized to address climate change, and we must now seize the moment to stop policies that will cause devastating damage to our planet.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

I am connecting with my neighbors, I am getting involved in community organizations that push for strong environmental policies on the local and national level, and I am continuing to march on the front lines with D.C. residents to ensure our collective voices are heard.

What keeps you going?

My belief that we can create a world where the water that runs through public housing and schools is not filled with lead, where children are no longer suffering with asthma due to poor air quality in our communities, and a world where we can utilize the sun and wind for all our energy use and not the dirty fossil fuels of the past.

Jordan Marie Daniel, Rising Hearts Coalition & D.C. ReInvest Coalition (Washington, D.C.)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

Since 8th grade, I’ve wanted to move to D.C. and advocate for Indian Country. Seeing firsthand the issues we continually deal with, I felt that we deserved better, and that starts with being heard. I started silently organizing when I moved to D.C. in 2013, and mostly supported Indigenous voices locally, that I looked up to. All that changed when I received a phone call to organize some events for the Standing Rock youth who were running to D.C. to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline in July of 2016. Since then, I have been organizing, made a trip to Standing Rock, and then, I felt the need to have my voice heard, by amplifying the voices coming from these communities, specifically, Standing Rock. I never wanted to be in front of people speaking, but this was important to me.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

Grassroots organizing is important for marginalized groups, who don’t have ready access to media and who do not make a strong enough voting block to be catered to by less principled politicians. Organizing also ensures that people, rather than special interests with special access, have a direct say in the policies that affect them. Especially for Native Americans, who have traditionally been marginalized in society but for whom the policies and respect that we fight for can make enormous impacts on our communities and future generations, this work is essential. That said, it’s important to note that Native Americans tend to fight for what is right and just for ALL people, not just our own interests. We know we are all related, that we all share this world, and that we all have to be responsible for the care and stewardship of not only the earth, but also for those who rely upon it for life.

What keeps you going?

I founded Rising Hearts off an idea and dream. It took me a long time to figure out what it would be, what the purpose of it would be. I wanted to do something for the people, to organize and represent the Indigenous voice and presence in D.C. on issues occurring in our communities, where decisions are made for us, and not with us. I’m blessed to have my best friend join in on this venture with me as I have seen her grow with confidence and has a strong, passionate care for Native Americans. We’re a dynamic Duo taking on D.C. and uniting the people.

Ariel Richer, Rising Hearts Coalition & D.C. ReInvest Coalition (Washington, D.C.)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

When I moved to D.C. a year ago, I never saw myself as an organizer or an activist. I was content being a behind the scenes advocate, quietly supporting those in my life who were more vocal. It started with a run greeting the youth from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, bringing awareness to the Dakota Access Pipeline. The run evolved into a rally, a protest, a march, a panel, a livestream, a public address with a bullhorn, culminating with co-founding the Rising Hearts Coalition. This wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t a have a friend, best-friend, sister, and fellow coalition co-founder to introduce me to a more active form of community organizing.

What are you doing currently to resist the Trump Agenda?

Organizing has created a sense of community in my life. When you work towards a goal with a community, when you lose sleep, work long hours, fight set-backs together, celebrate victories together, you forge an unbreakable bond. That bond keeps the community together through whatever may come.

It’s easier to step out of your comfort zone when it’s for something that matters; people matter.

Aiyi’nah Ford, The Future Foundation (D.C.)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement Mean to You?

The climate movement means fighting for a generations of oppressed people to finally see the day they can breathe freely.

What’re you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

I’m creating leader-FULL spaces to make organizing great again.

What keeps you going?

The Future adults I organize with everyday.

Claude Copeland, Iraq Veterans Against the War (Queens, NY)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

I see the Peoples Climate Movement making the connection of how our treatment of our world affects so many areas of our lives. It’s people coming to realize and deeply feel how necessary it is for us to come together now, with so many of our people as well as our planet being under attack.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

I haven’t been a part of that many actions, personally. I’m excited to be part of current planning with our local IVAW chapter and on our Board for how we can best lend support to those communities that are being targeted by the Trump Agenda. I’m excited to take part in the Peoples Climate March and for our organization to provide further skills and avenues to our members to be able to find ways in their areas to resist the Trump Agenda.

What keeps you going?

Community. I know it’s not an original answer but it’s in the various communities that I’ve been a part of the past 5 years that have helped me to feel not only hopeful but assured that we will bring real change into our own lives, even if it’s in ways we can’t imagine. I am proud of the different identities that I have come to embrace even deeper as a Black man, a Veteran, a Christian and so much more I still have to learn about myself that I look forward to moving ahead with the various people in my life to see what will come for us in the future.

Genesis Abreu, WE ACT for Environmental Justice (New York, NY)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

It is redefining the environmental movement through an intersectional lens and giving this movement a new face. The Peoples Climate Movement means that communities of color and low income communities are not backing down to this administration because the air we breathe and the safety of our own homes is now on the line. This movement is for our families, for our neighbors, and for everyone’s future.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

I am organizing in my neighborhood and shedding light on how the Trump Agenda, especially his War on the Environment directly impacts our everyday lives. My Latinx community cares about the health of our environment as well as the health of our families that live in Latin America and the Caribbean.

What keeps you going?

Collective Action. That is what this Movement is calling for and this momentum is going to continue!

Katherine Quaid, 350Vermont

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

It means intersectionality. All of our issues are tied together and I can see how each movement is directly affected by climate change. To end climate change we need everyone and we need to follow the leadership of indigenous leaders, frontline communities, and those who have the most at stake. By recognizing how we are interconnected, I think our movement will truly thrive.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

Attending marches and rallies in our town; working for a climate action organization; reading books to get myself further educated on authoritarian regimes and social movements.

What keeps you going?

My family; I remember all of my ancestors who have fought for me to be here, for me to live in this moment and have the opportunity to represent my family and heritage. I think of my descendants; I want them to experience all the beauty on earth, I want to leave this world better for them.

The Peoples Climate March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice is a massive collective mobilization of environmental, indigenous, racial justice, economic justice, and immigrant groups demanding an economy and a government that works for working families and the planet. On April 29, 2017, we will fill the streets of D.C. to show the full strength of our love, camaraderie, power, and pride. Join us! To change everything, we’ll need everyone.

We Resist. We Build. We Rise.

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