These Mothers Are Fighting Climate Change for Their Children

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 mothers demonstrate not only the breadth of our collective, but the wisdom of our cause. We all have much to learn from why they march.

Keya Chatterjee, US Climate Action Network (Washington, D.C.)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

Climate change is a deeply personal issue for me. First, as a mom, it is my job to protect my son. He’ll be my age in 2050, which is the year that climate projections become scary — at least in the scenarios where we don’t stop big oil and big coal companies from destroying us. Inaction is not an option for me or for him. Second, as a Bengali woman, my parents were displaced once by partition, and it’s not acceptable to me to see more and more Bengali families being displaced by climate change and sea level rise. Finally, as a long-time resident of SW DC, I’m acutely aware that if Superstorm Sandy had hit DC, our community would have been under water. The Peoples Climate Movement provides the chance for all of us to stand together periodically to protect our families and communities. We *can* power our homes and our buildings with the sun and the wind and create jobs and secure justice for every community while we do it. We just need to get the corporate polluters out of leadership, and out of our way.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

As a family, we’ve adopted the new DC mantra that “Protest is the new brunch, and organizing is the new happy hour”. On the climate change front, we also live our resistance every day! We don’t have an electric car, so we ride bicycles, buses, and Metro to get around our city, and advocate for safer bicycling in our community. We advocate for everyone in our city to have access to solar, and we avoid writing checks to the utilities and oil companies that use our dollars to advocate against us. When we can, we grow our own food to stay connected to the land. We resist by living in the world we want to be in and protesting the EPA-less public health crisis that Trump and the fossil fuel companies are advocating.

What keeps you going?

My family. My son has boundless energy to organize!

Molly Rauch, Moms Clean Air Force (D.C.)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement Mean to You?

I march for my three children. My job as a mom is to protect their future, and climate change poses a fundamental threat to their health and wellbeing.

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

I help moms and dads learn more about air pollution, climate change, and advocacy by developing materials, planning community events, and implementing advocacy campaigns. I help moms and dads share their stories with lawmakers by preparing them to write letters, make phone calls, and meet with their elected officials.

What keeps you going?

My kids, who are funny and creative and inspiring. Also, our volunteers, who are passionate and dedicated.

Vien Truong, Green For All (Oakland, CA)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

The Peoples Climate Movement is a chance for people from all backgrounds to stand with communities living at the frontlines of some of the worst pollution in America for solutions that uplift the health, wealth, and security of everybody by leaving polluters no place to dump their waste.

My family and I got to the US as refugees from Vietnam in the early 80s. We became farm laborers in Portland, OR. My mom strapped me to her back as we picked strawberries. We moved to Oakland where we did work in sweatshops. I saw the connection between what was happening on farmlands and urban centers. What I do today is connect the climate and economy problems while working for solutions.

Green For All works for solutions to solve poverty and pollution. The Peoples Climate Movement is an opportunity to bring people together to stand with people suffering at the frontlines of pollution and climate change for transformative solutions.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

As Donald Trump is attacking climate protections in every way possible, we need state leaders to lead the resistance with climate policy that stands up for frontline families who have been hurt first and worst by fossil fuels. Our Frontlines First campaign is driving innovative climate policy that puts communities that have lived for too long with industrial pollution first in the clean energy economy.

In Flint, Michigan we are continuing to provide a megaphone for the community leaders and organizations working to address the crisis in Flint. In addition we are working with these leaders to turn the focus to the future of Flint, and what the community needs to sustainably and equitably rebuild itself into a prosperous city. Residents have gone through some of the worst years in recent history and now deserve the best the country has to offer — in expertise, support and resources– to help Flint make a comeback.

We are making sure the country understands that climate justice is racial justice and social justice. Our families are the ones at the frontlines. The ones whose lives will be risked first and worst when superstorms and hit, and the ones affected so much by air pollution that we can’t walk out of our homes. We need to make sure we engage people to care deeply about social and racial justice.

What keeps you going?

To me, this isn’t work. This is my life. My “work” comes from my deep unconditional love for Oakland, for my family, for my kids. It comes from gratitude to all those who helped me up and held me together when I was struggling. My work is my expression of love. And love is inexhaustible.

Charlyn Griffith, Soil Generation (Philadelphia, PA)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

This movement, like others, is an opportunity to reach people where they’re at. I think when you have an interest in addressing inequity in one area, you will undoubtedly be invited to participate in balancing the scales in others. I’ve been reframing this by defining the word climate: it’s a set of conditions in an area, it’s society, it’s our home lives, it’s our email inboxes. You know how people say as above, so below? Working for cleaner air and water, to plant more trees and grow better food sounds to me like caring for minds, bodies and spirits. Everything serves to further.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

Well, I’m a queer, woman and mother of Afro-Caribbean descent, and I’m an immigrant. My very existence is resistance to his agenda. My nature won’t allow me to succumb to the imaginary power of this or any other oligarchical, oppressive government agenda.

The first 100 days of this presidency have been rough. I’ve had to explain to my children when they asked how such a ‘bad person’ could become president. Because they are 6, 8 and almost 12 we have had to unpack politics, race, class and gender, hypocrisy and spin. My youngest son had a nightmare the night the election results were announced. The media spin has probably been most difficult to manage. Sometimes the anti-Trump messaging is as scary and menacing as his own behavior.

I’ve been particularly sensitive to the Immigration policies that President Trump’s administration has been playing with, shifting dangerous rhetoric and procedures like matchbox cars. The weekend that airline travelers were under siege I was all tears, remembering when I was undocumented, thinking about a potential future where I would be forced to apply for US citizenship in order to stay in the country with my American born children: it was a heavy emotional lift. Though it’s not a common emotion for me, I was enraged. And, it fuels the work, it grounds me to continue working towards what’s possible, and centering the voices of people most impacted. On the 100th day of this presidency, marching in the streets is my way of saying YES my communities have dreams, YES we live meaningfully and YES this planet has a chance at an equitable future for everyone.

What keeps you going?

My work and home lives are intermingled and inseparable. Remaining asset oriented in my work reminds me that people and our planet are strong, resilient and capable of the healing and regeneration that living requires. Also, and quite genuinely, working with organizations that really support the work I do, and value the human energy and experience that goes into organising and movement building is key.

My children were born at home. They were literally born and are growing with me in the movement. I’m grateful for this time and to be alive and bearing the vision for the future. We’re a Soil Generation, it’s what we do.

Colleen Forest, New Jersey Organizing Project

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean for you?

I live at the seashore; the water is my backyard, and I see the evidence of climate change with each higher-than-high tide; every time I have to call my boss to tell him I’m going to be late because the roads have flooded; each time my house, now on pilings since Superstorm Sandy, shakes in the severe storms which seem to be getting more frequently. Even my community, our way of life, is under siege because of climate change. Someday soon, my community will be underwater if we don’t do something. I cannot ignore the evidence of climate change, and I want to be the part of the solution. That’s why I march. I march for the marshland that lies just outside my front window. I march for the lagoon outside my back door, for the bay at the end of my road, and for the ocean, for the sand between my toes, for the feeling of the cool breeze coming through my windows on a hot day. I march for my neighbors. I march for my town and my state, for the country, and, most of all, for my daughter.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

Everything I possibly can. I make phone calls and write emails to my representatives to let them know how I feel on the issues that matter to me. I’ve been to the Women’s March in Washington, I’m going to go to the Tax March in D.C. this weekend, and I’ll be in Washington D.C., of course at the end of the month.

I will continue to march. I will continue to work to help my community recover from Superstorm Sandy. Too many of my neighbors still cannot go home. I don’t know when the next major storm will hit; but I know it’s not an if, it’s a when.

What keeps you going?

I don’t get a choice. I’m surrounded by climate change. I see it everyday and it’s only become more clear since Sandy hit. Ultimately, though, what keeps me going is a love of family. I want this to be the country that my grandfather fought for and to be a country my daughter is proud to call home.

Georgia Warner, D.C. Unites Against Hate (D.C.)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement Mean to You?

I believe in science. I do not believe in corporate interests running policy. I believe in the human rights’ of the Native Nations. I do not believe in wasting our resources for short term financial gain. I believe in fairly sharing the Earth. I do not believe in the Trump Administration.

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

Coalition Building! Resisting policies rooted in hate and ignorance. Defending neighbors from attacks on the vulnerable and marginalized. Building unity for a more multicultural and inclusive society.

What keeps you going?

My four month old son was born on Election Day. His father and I promised to help build a more equitable, sustainable world, and to be models of good neighbors and citizens. We call him the “born to resist baby!”

Suzi Ward, People’s Climate March Kansas City Steering Committee (KC, MO)

What does the Peoples Climate Movement mean to you?

The movement in general means empowering people to demand climate action by helping them find and amplify their voices. It means telling our Midwest story about what climate change looks like right here and right now. More than anything, though, as a parent, it means setting an example for my daughter to know her rights and responsibilities for active participation in our democracy. It means showing her the injustices and inequalities many people face so she will know the importance of the People’s Climate Movement. The foundations she lays now as a young lady will inspire her throughout her life.

What are you currently doing to resist the Trump Agenda?

Anything I can do. Grassroots community organizing, calling and face-to-face visits with my members of congress, talking about fact-based science, networking with other progressives in the KC metro area to make our voices heard, and empowering others to do the same! I am also supporting litigators like the Sierra Club, NRDC, EarthJustice, and the Environmental Defense Fund by contributing individual donations. They will play a crucial role in fighting the Trump Administration and its supporters in court at each attempt to roll back environmental protections.

What keeps you going?

I remind myself of the courage of activists that pushed for environmental protection in the 1960s. Their demands influenced our elected leaders to create the environmental laws that we are defending today. I imagine the future that my daughter might live in if we lose those protections. I want her to be able to look back on the success of this climate movement and say, “My mom did that! And she did that because she loves me.

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, the 100th day of the Trump Administration, we will flood the streets of D.C. and surround the White House 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.