‘Our future matters’: Global Climate Strike calls for governmental action, ’empowers’ youth


Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

Destiny Morado ’22 cheers at the Los Angeles Global Climate Strike. She said she was grateful to attend the event with Archer. “It felt so empowering,” she said. “We had all our sisters together. It showed the world that young people matter.”

If there’s a protest, Susan Millman and Steve Clare are probably there. The two retirees, both in their early 70s, have been political activists for 50 years, fighting for causes ranging from civil rights to the Vietnam War to immigration. Friday’s Global Climate Strike in Los Angeles was no exception.

“This actually has been the first demonstration we’ve gone to which is predominantly young people,” Clare said. “It’s exciting.”

Millman and Clare joined millions worldwide protesting government inaction on climate change. The strike was championed by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate justice activist from Sweden who has become a figurehead in the youth environmental movement. Friday’s demonstration preceded the United Nations Climate Action summit, which will occur on Monday and aims to secure more comprehensive means of curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

This is not the end of us. This is the beginning.”

— Johaira Michelle Dilauro, striker

Archer students joined the throng of strikers. School administration announced Thursday that buses would transport any interested upper school or eighth grade student to the event as long as their parents signed a release form. All absences for the strike were excused.

“Helping girls find out what matters to them and figuring out how to use their voices in the most effective and powerful way — that’s why Archer exists,” Head of School Elizabeth English said at a meeting before the strike. “This is about your future.”

Archer Council for Sustainability President Abigale Lischak (’20) helped coordinate the logistics of bringing students to the event.

“Honestly, that was the happiest I’ve ever been to go to Archer,” Lischak said. “They care about our human rights, and they care about supporting us.”

Johira Michelle Dilauro, a 35-year-old nurse, was excited to see the group of girls clad in white polo shirts. She started a call-and-response chant with Archer, which she described as “freaking epic.”

“Everyone here wants to scream, they want to yell,” she said. “There’s so much anger and anxiety, so when you scream, it’s liberating.”

Logan Green, a 23-year-old who works in clean tech, went to the march on behalf of the Sunrise Movement. The Washington, D.C.-based, youth-led organization aims secure a Green New Deal and combat climate injustice. Green collected signatures from students pledging they would pressure LAUSD to transition to 100% renewable energy sources by 2030. Clutching a clipboard, he said it was difficult to maneuver through the packed streets.

“People are ready to take a stand,” he said. “It shouldn’t be students who are having to push and make this a national and global issues. It should be something that [policymakers] are taking into consideration. It’s time to issue in a new kind of green revolution.”

Monty Owen, a 33-year-old musician, believes corporations are destroying the planet and world governments have failed to hold them accountable. He supports “drastic change” to stop or slow down climate change.

“After I had a child, it became a lot more pressing to me,” Owen said, gesturing to his son, Rowdy, who sat in a stroller. “When he is 20 or 30, he could be facing the most terrifying thing where he doesn’t even have a home because oceans are rising. He’s the reason I’m here.”

After standing in Pershing Square holding signs for approximately two hours, the crowd began the approximately mile-long march to City Hall. Along the way, chants included “The oceans are rising, so are we,” “planet over profit” and “climate change is real; we need a Green New Deal.”

There’s nothing that can replace the energy of young people coming together.”

— Jennifer Dohr, Archer English teacher

Strikers also brought traffic to a standstill. Jennifer Dohr, an Archer English teacher who chaperoned the trip, found interactions between stalled drivers and demonstrators memorable.

“To see our mile-long group of people be able to bring it to gridlock — that was really powerful symbolically,” she said. “Instead of the cars being ticked off that we were stopping traffic, a lot of the cars started honking their horns, saying ‘I might not be out there with you, I might be sitting in this car, but I’m with you.'”

Dohr had never attended a protest with her students but felt like she “had to be there.” She described feeling guilt because her generation is “accountable” for not “stepping up.”

“Change always starts with one person,” Dohr said. “I look at Greta, and I can’t help but wonder, ‘What if I had been Greta in the 1980s? Would we be where we are right now in 2019?'”

Her generation’s inaction is a reason she is so impressed by Archer students and today’s youth in general.

“Thank you for lending your time and your voice and your talent and your poster-making and your screams and your energy,” she said.

Lucy Lassman (’23) fed off the crowd’s energy and passion. She said the strike gave her hope for the planet.

“The fact that we are a school and a girls school means that this protest is powered not only by youth but by future female leaders,” she said.

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  • Maia Alvarez (’24) chants along with the crowd. She described the day as tiring and inspiring. “Everybody was super pumped up and excited to go into this battle head-on,” she said. “You could feel it in the energy.”

    Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

  • Students pose in the Archer amphitheater before boarding the buses downtown. Associate Head of School Karen Pavliscak described the photograph as a chance for students to share their voices via Archer’s social media.

    Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

  • Lacey Thompson (’24) stands in Pershing Square, holding up a cardboard sign. Archer students stayed in a group and were frequently approached by strangers for pictures.

    Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

  • Jasper Lutyens perches atop his father’s shoulders during the march. “We want our Earth to live,” the 10-year-old said. “It’s not just money that exists. Our future matters.”

    Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

  • Strikers gather outside City Hall after an approximately mile-long walk from Pershing Square. CBS News estimated that thousands of Angelenos attended the demonstration.

    Photo credit: Ava Rothenberg

  • Ashley Balmaceda, a 22-year-old professor’s assistant, holds a sign up to young girls looking down from a window. Balmaceda said she was motivated to attend the strike because staying at home would be a “disservice” to society. “I have the privilege that others don’t have to come out and show that we want a change,” she said.

    Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

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