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Milwaukee: Hundreds march for the planet

By Ryan Hamann |
September 22, 2019
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Milwaukee march challenges causes of climate change.
Milwaukee march challenges causes of climate change. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Milwaukee, WI - On the morning of September 20, more than 500 people gathered and marched in downtown Milwaukee to defend the planet. The crowd included a wide variety of people from all different backgrounds and of all different ages. The leaders were young, Black, and predominantly women.

After gathering strength at city hall, demonstrators were led on a nearly two mile march by a handful of students from North Division High School. The student activists are part of a group organized in their school called Youth Rising Up. For many of these young adults, it was their first experience protesting anything, and they made the most of the opportunity.

The march was determined and energetic, with all participants demonstrating their resolve to fight against corporations to save the future. Chants of “You can’t drink oil! Keep it in the soil!” and “Climate action now!” rang out as passersby snapped pictures, cheered or honked car hons.

The day of action was called by an organization called Youth Climate Action Team. One of the primary organizers is Ayanna Lee, a senior at Rufus King High School in Milwaukee. She said that politicians have failed to address the needs of people, specifically the oppressed nationality youth.

“Those in power have neglected to acknowledge their privilege on the issue [of climate change]. Marginalized communities - including my own in Milwaukee - have to forgo clean water,” Lee said. “Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald simply cannot relate to our struggles, which is why they refuse to recognize the existence of climate change,” referring to Wisconsin’s assembly speaker and the state senate majority leader.

The demonstration concluded with a massive rally at Lake Park near the shores of Lake Michigan. Those gathered were treated to a rousing speech from Lee about the role oppressed nationalities have played in the struggle for climate justice. A speaker who traveled to Milwaukee all the way from Germany shared news of hundreds of similar actions taking place all over his country, demonstrating the global character of the movement.

Representatives of the Coalition to March on the DNC in 2020 actively participated in the march and rally, helping to lead chants and excite the crowd. One of the Coalition’s points of unity is a demand for climate action now. The expectation is that many who attended or supported the climate strike will join the Coalition for its first organizing meeting which is being held at Dontre Hamilton (Red Arrow) Park on October 3 at 5 p.m.

If there’s one lesson to be learned from this action in Milwaukee and the thousands of similar ones all around the world, it’s that young people aren’t going to sit idly by any longer. They’re ready to take the offensive and battle the system at the root of the climate crisis.