On March 10th, Ashland High School students held a walkout for Climate Justice. The goal was to raise awareness for not only climate issues, such as deforestation and pollution, but to evoke the adults, elected officials, and community leaders of Ashland to address and take action on the climate crisis.
At 10:30 am, students at Ashland High School walked out of class and paraded through Downtown Ashland waving flags, banners, and signs advocating for climate change, as well as singing chants. “This is what democracy looks like” echoed down the streets of Ashland.
Once they reached the plaza, students began passing out flyers providing some details on the group hosting the event, Rogue Climate Action Team. Along with this were details on RCAT’s Electrification campaign, and a link for people to join the cause. On the opposite side of the flyers were chants that were sung throughout the rally.
The rally continued with a few more chants– also listed on the flyers– as more people gathered around. After some brief speeches, students came to the center of the plaza to voice themselves. Many students came up to speak, and each of them offered their voice in a unique way; poetry, speeches, songs, and chants. While students voiced themselves, petitions were passed around through the crowd for those who wanted more information, as well as opportunities for volunteer work.
Some of the rally’s focus revolved around preserving the world and its life, reaching out to adults and leaders for help, and the need for leaders to take responsibility for their actions– as well as cementing the youth’s voice and ideas being heard and respected. The people, places, and creatures affected by climate change were also mentioned throughout, such as its impact on Indigenous people, the youth and future generations, the impoverished, and animals and ecosystems.
While the topics of the chants and rallies are very serious, the rally and the chants kept a hopeful perspective that these issues can be solved, not just by officials, but by the youth and younger generations. Chants such as “The People United Will Never be Defeated,” help cement this message throughout the rally. As the last few speeches came to a close, the rally ended with a final chant and the announcement of future events. While the crowd dispersed into the Ashland sidewalks and streets, voices sang out for the future.
The walkout and rally was hosted by the Rogue Climate Action Team, a youth-led team from the Rogue Climate organization, focusing their work on advocating for climate justice and raising awareness within their communities.
There are future events being held for anyone who wants to come and join the movement: On March 18th, there will be a Testimony Writing Workshop from 2-3:30 PM at the Ashland First Congressional United Church of Christ.
On March 21st, there will be an Ashland City Council Meeting at 5:45 PM at the Ashland City Council Chambers.
Rogue Climate and the Rogue Climate Action Team both have Instagram accounts to follow for more updates on their events and rallies (@rogueclimate_actionteam & @rogueclimate), as well as a website rogueclimate.org