Last Sunday, 5 members of Our Climate MA’s team joined 20 youth from across the MA Youth Climate Coalition, 300 MA-based adult allies, and 75,000+ other protesters in the streets of New York City for the March to End Fossil Fuels.

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According to the march’s website, over 75,000 people marched. It was the largest climate protest since the pandemic and the largest demonstration making demands of President Biden since he took office.

Here’s what Our Climate Field Reps Sue Kelman and Austin Kim had to say:

The truth is, I, Sue, was hesitant to come to this march. I’m a high school junior, and free time is hard to come by. I admit: the morning of, I was regretting the decision to attend. It was 6:45am and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to driving to New York with no food and very little sleep only to return at 11:15 that night.

I, Austin, another junior in high school found the prospect of the march distant, scary even. It was five hours further away from my parents than I had ever been before. Still, I believed in the mission, so three days before the march, I clicked the big red button on Eventbrite to take that bus all the way from Framingham to New York City. Earlier, I thought to myself that if I missed this march, it would not matter. But then I strengthened my resolve and knew that if I missed this march, I would feel disingenuous in my solidarity to create a better future for my friends and family. Climate change is not just an issue for me—it is for everyone worldwide.

And how lucky we were to have gone. It was a transformative experience. We remember the exact moment when the chants started rolling around and we screamed and sang along with the crowd. We even ended up leading our own chant together, taking turns with the megaphone. Multiple hours flashed by faster than we could process it, and the diversity and power that climate coalitions nationwide held was simply magic to our eyes. We saw anti-militarists, eco-socialists and radical vegans. We heard and joined chants not only to keep fossil fuels in the soil, but to Stop Cop City and Tax (and Eat) the Rich. Yet we could all stand and march for a common goal, with all these pieces of the puzzle as one. It was fun, liberating, empowering, and relieving all at once. By the end of the day, our throats were sore from so much chanting. We had contributed to something beautiful.

But what really staggered us about the march was the sheer number of people. Everyone we saw in the crowd was giving up a Sunday to march for a better future. But the true number of people is much greater than that. We were both close to not going. It took time, money, and effort. For every person who came, think of all the people who believed in the cause, but couldn’t come. That 75,000 people? All the viewpoints we saw represented? That’s only the beginning of the breadth and depth of the climate movement.

And neither the movement nor the NYC-based actions have stopped. At 10 AM on the following day protesters blocked entryways to the New York Federal Reserve Bank. More than 100 protesters were arrested. On Tuesday, 20 more protesters were arrested at a Bank of America near Bryant Park. The movement knows where the money for oil, coal, and gas is coming from, and is continuing to act. Similarly, we’re determined to take the energy back to our own local organizing in our home state.