Youth demonstrators in Boston take part in global protest
Dozens of protesters rallied outside of the State House Friday, demanding elected officials act now to avoid the worse effects of climate change.
The activists, many of them students, stood on the steps at the edge of Boston Common to demonstrate before marching to a second rally outside Boston City Hall. The event was organized by the group Fridays for Future Boston, the local chapter of an international group founded by global climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
“Our local demand is to stop the construction of the Eastie substation, which is an electricity distribution plant that's put on the land of people who are most affected: it's primarily lower income BIPOC people,” said Shoshana Daly, 18, a biochemistry student at Tufts University and leader of Fridays for Future Boston.
The Eversource substation, which has been approved and is under construction near the shores of Chelsea Creek in East Boston has been a target by neighborhood and climate protesters. Opponents to the project say it’s been sited in a future flood zone, and exemplifies a pattern of injustice in an already environmentally burdened community.
Many of the marchers carried signs demanding that Eversouce’ stop construction at the substation’s current location. Other placards called for the expansion of green space in East Boston.
The marchers included fifth and sixth graders, some of whom said the adults in charge will not face the same consequences of climate change as their generation will.
“I think to all the politicians who are just saying no to all these climate bills and laws, just because they're making money off of the oil companies, they need to think about it again because our world is more important than your money,” said Siji Joneva Balogun, 11.
Demonstrators also demanded that Massachusetts commit to 100% carbon-free energy statewide by 2030. To national elected officials, their general demand was to move away from fossil fuel investment and to refuse donations from lobbyists connected to the fossil fuel industry.
"People who are making the laws won't experience, like, the real thing of climate change. Like, we're little, so we will experience [it] in our lifetimes, and they won't. So we want to stop it before it gets too late," said 10-year-old Maeve Sly. Her sign said “Divest from fossil fuels, invest in the people!”
During the march, demonstrators had extra musical support from the Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians. In the end, youth leaders sang with the crowd, “Somebody is hurting my brother,” by Yara Allen, finishing with the words “we won’t stay silent anymore.”