“Don’t tell me it’ll be okay,” demanded Claire Pryor. “I can’t vote, I can’t run for office,” cried out the 17 year. “I have to sit and watch as time flies by.” The Ashland High School Senior gave a provoking speech addressing the public leaders who are making decisions for the planet’s future.
Over 1200 people gathered in Medford’s Pear Blossom park to march against climate change. More than 40 organizations supported this march that was just one of over 370 marches that occurred nationwide in correspondence to the Trump administration’s 100th day in office.
“I believe social justice is environmental justice,” said SOU student and de-escalation liaison Ricardo Lujan. “Without having both of them intertwine, there’s no way either of those fields will move forward. “I think climate change is one of the most threatening things happening to our generation,” he insisted. “With our current administration, it’s very important that we continue fighting for changes.”
He thought that the marches being held across the country will have a significant impact, but that this only had to impact people at the local level. “The main purpose of this event,” Lujan informed, “is to show awareness and show that we’re standing up for what’s happening.” This building of awareness and support was shared by many of the marchers.
“One thing it’s going to do is build community” said SOU student and Rogue Valley native Morgan Bechtold-Enge. “There’s a lot of people here that are obviously upset about what is going on and the fact that there are so many people that are in denial.”
“All these different communities and people are coming together and showing that people care about this and that we need to care about this ,” Bechtold-Enge said. “We need to be doing something—now.”
Those who spoke either did so bilingually in Spanish and English, or they were accompanied by a Spanish speaking translator. When the march began, those in charge made certain that it was led by indigenous peoples.
There were people from all generations and cultures packed together in the 80-degree heat. From infants and children with their parents to the elderly carrying picket signs. Those in charge attempted to bridge dividing factors of age, culture, and class. Claudia Alick, the events emcee, referred to the event as an “intersectional demonstration” before she invited indigenous peoples and people of color to come and lead the mile-long march along sidewalks through the downtown area.
“We’re standing in solidarity; the fight is only beginning,” said Lupe Garcia the Youth and Climate Justice Organizer for Rogue Climate. “Hopefully this begins the conversation.”