OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma junior high, high school, and college students are planning to rally at the State Capitol on Friday, March 15 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. to raise awareness about what advocates describe as “the growing climate crisis.” The Oklahoma City event is organized by students from Deer Creek High School and sponsored by the Oklahoma Chapter of Sierra Club.
The rally is a part of the Youth Climate Strike , a national group demanding legislation to address the issue and push for the legislative resolution called the “Green New Deal.” Students will listen to speakers and engage in various activities on the capitol grounds.
Event co-organizers include Lanah Hinsdale and Luke Kerr, both seniors at Deer Creek High School, and Max Salcido, a graduate of Edmond North High School.
According to Salcido, the mission of Youth Climate Strike Oklahoma is to “engage students in a rally about ending climate change through comprehensive and common sense legislation.”
Youth speakers include Xavier Doolittle, Chairman of the Green County Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) who will discuss the Green New Deal.
“This will be a permitted rally on the capitol, and a crucial chance for us, the generation that will have to live through climate change, to set the agenda that we want to see,” Doolittle said in a post on Facebook.
Also speaking will be Angelina Steinmeyer, a 15-year-old homeschooled student activist and Jr. Miss Indian Oklahoma from Norman; Kechina Nelson, 22, environmental activist born in South Dakota and member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe; and Rebecca Yanez, a college freshman at Oklahoma City Community College, representative for March for Our Lives OKC, YouGoGirl Oklahoma, and Oklahoma’s Eighteenx18 delegate.
Participants are encouraged to bring signs although some printed signs will be provided at the event. Parking will be available in the lot south of the Capitol or on the west side of Lincoln in the Jim Thorpe Building lot.
“The evidence is more than clear, it is overwhelming– not only is climate change real, it is already negatively impacting some of the world’s most impoverished areas, even creating wars in places like Syria due to extreme drought and heat,” said Johnson Grimm Bridgwater, Director of Oklahoma Sierra Club.
“And right here in the U.S., our own government admits major catastrophes such as wildfires, droughts, out-of-season tornadoes, and recent horrific hurricanes are all due to climate change, costing the United States billions of dollars annually to deal with the aftermath.
“But what all elected officials need to focus on is the biggest threat of all– the threat climate change poses to our children, our grandchildren, and our great grandchildren,” Johnson added.
“It is our youth who will pay the biggest price for government inaction and the willful burying of the truth by fossil fuel companies who have known for decades that it was coming.”
Sparked by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and her weekly Friday “school strikes for climate” in front of the Swedish Parliament, the US Youth Climate Strike is joining the movement “Fridays for Future.”
Students from throughout the world submitted an open letter, published by the Guardian on March 1 that states, “United we will rise on 15 March and many times after until we see climate justice. We demand the world’s decision makers take responsibility and solve this crisis.”
To set up an exhibit, contact Susie Shields Derichsweiler, at [email protected]. For more information, visit the event Facebook page, or contact Luke Kerr at 580-799-2540 or Max Salcido at 405-306-3459.