Hot on the heels of the protest at the Yale-Harvard football game, the Elm City will see another call for climate action on Friday on the steps of City Hall and a subsequent march through the city streets.
The hosts of today’s climate strike are local activist organizations Sunrise New Haven and the New Haven Climate Movement, though the strike is just one of many set to take place across the United States on Dec. 6 by the Sunrise Movement. The organization’s last climate strike on Sept. 20 drew the participation of millions worldwide and has been widely recognized as the largest climate justice demonstration the world has seen. Friday’s Elm City strike will feature a march from City Hall to the Yale University Art Gallery to New Haven County Courthouse and back again to City Hall.
Sunrise New Haven hub co-coordinator Sam Zacher GRD ’24 told the News in an interview that today’s strike has uniquely involved planning from people historically unaffiliated with Sunrise or other political movements.
“The primary purpose of the climate strike [today] is to continue growing the grassroots climate justice movement both for its own sake and to try and send a signal to decision-makers of all kinds that it is a growing, strong movement,” Zacher said.
The demonstrators plan to sing and chant in what the strike’s organizers have called “climate carolling” in an effort to “express the urgency of the crisis and the hope of [the] movement” while inviting others to join the cause in the new year, according to the event’s Facebook page.
Chris Schweitzer, program coordinator of the New Haven Leon Sister City Project — which founded NHCM — hopes the strike will succeed in maintaining the attention of local government.
“Especially with something as urgent as climate change — where we’re 15 years behind where we need to be — it’s really good to keep people coming out, keep it in the media, keep it in people’s faces and appeal to politicians until they keep thinking about it and understand that we are all very concerned,” Schweitzer told the News in an interview. “[Climate change] needs to be acted on as soon as possible.”
In the weeks since the demonstration in front of City Hall, Mayor-elect Justin Elicker’s new administration has not publicly committed to any solid plans for climate action, according to Schweitzer. Still, Elicker’s transition team organized two public canvassing meetings intended to brainstorm ideas on a slew of issues, including climate change.
After the protest that disrupted the 136th iteration of The Game, which called for Harvard and Yale to divest their endowments from fossil fuels and Puerto Rican debt, the Yale Endowment Justice Coalition has continued to advocate for its cause, including gathering support for today’s climate strike.
YEJC member Adriana Colon Adorno ’20 told the News that although the coalition is comprised of many groups, several members of YEJC work alongside Sunrise New Haven in the local climate action movement. At a YEJC teach-in Thursday night, the coalition publicized today’s strike along with a court rally to support the 50 people arrested at the Yale-Harvard protest.
“We promote a lot of group’s events,” Colon Adorno said. “There’s a lot of support for Sunrise Movement and a lot of solidarity.”
According to Zacher, Sunrise New Haven ultimately hopes the strike will raise further awareness for the movement’s cause, especially in providing education on the Green New Deal.
“[The Green New Deal] has people from the climate movement, but also the labor movement, working on racial justice, economic justice, immigration justice,” Zacher said. “So in terms of [today’s strike], I hope to see more people in terms of quantity, but also in terms of intensity and energy.”
The climate strike will begin at 2 p.m. outside City Hall at 165 Church St.
Anna Gumberg | firstname.lastname@example.org