The call: Show me what democracy looks like!
The thundering response of the crowd: This is what democracy looks like!
With gusto and enthusiasm, 20 Westtown students and teachers added their voices to the breathtaking chorus of hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of New York City last Sunday – one person for every 1,000 Americans. That’s a big crowd, a really big crowd – the biggest climate march in history.
Banners were flying, and signs were everywhere (my favorite: an image of the sun, overwritten with “Gee, if we only we had access to an infinite source of energy.”). The diversity of the crowd was striking: families with young ones, students in droves, people of every age, religion, ethnicity, and culture. The tone was ebullient, positive, and determined: peaceful assembly at its best. Democracy in action.
At 12:58 the massive crowd grew utterly silent and raised hands above their heads. All that could be heard were birds singing in Central Park. Two minutes later we raised the “climate alarm”: 30 marching bands struck up, and every mouth was shouting or blowing a whistle. The roar swelled from the front of the march to the back and could be heard over a mile away. It was a stunning moment.
UN delegates in the following days took note of the March, adding urgency and momentum to the growing consensus that we must replace our addiction to coal, oil, and gas to clean alternatives. The transition will create jobs, clean our air and water, and mitigate climate change which impacts all of us.
It felt wonderful to have Westtown School represented at this historic event.