PRESS RELEASE: December 6th Climate Strike
On Friday, December 6, a coalition of climate justice organizations participated in the National Climate Strike
Oneida County, N.Y. — A coalition of climate justice organizations hosted two protests in coordination with a national climate strike to pressure governments and the United Nations Climate Change Conference currently taking place in Madrid, Spain to take bold, transformative climate action. Protests in Oneida County were just two of hundreds across the US and world.
The first protest was at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. A fifty-person “Funeral for Our Futures” was hosted by Sunrise Movement Hamilton College, the Feminists of Color Collective (FCC), the Shenandoah-Kirkland Initiative, the Womxn’s Center, and the Vegan Club, to highlight the personal impact young college students will feel as a result of the climate crisis. A homemade casket was laid on the steps of the administration building after a funeral procession. The coalition made six core demands of the Board of Trustees and College President David Wippman including the total divestment of the endowment from fossil fuels, the declaration of a climate emergency, reparations to the Oneida Nation, and the recusal of the Chairman of the Investment Committee of the Board who manages seven different fossil fuel companies, Robert Delaney ‘79, from decisions about fossil fuels and the endowment. Sophomore and co-chair of FCC Saphire Ruiz argued in a speech, “People like President Wippman and the members of the Board of Trustees will have our blood on their hands if they continue to refuse to act.” The Board is currently having its regular December meeting in New York City; activists are hoping that their demands are being discussed.
Students then traveled to the second protest, held at the intersection of Genesee St. and Memorial Parkway in Utica, which was organized and attended by Citizen Action CNY, Extinction Rebellion Mohawk Valley, FCC, Indivisible Mohawk Valley (IMV), Sunrise Movement Hamilton College, Town of Kirkland Democratic Committee, and the Utica College Outdoors Club. Demands included that the “CLIMATE CRISIS” should be called as such by government officials and mass media, to have the crisis be acted on now, for the City of Utica and Oneida County to follow through with the Climate Smart Community Pledge and enact climate policies at the same level of boldness as the Green New Deal, for the NY Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to be implemented with $1 billion next year, and special attention to marginalized, frontline communities. More than eighty people attended the rally, despite the snowy weather. Activists performed chants, gave speeches, and held signs directed at drivers. Many drivers honked in support of the protest. IMV plans to host similar protests at the same location every Friday at 3PM. Sunrise Movement Hamilton College hub coordinator Eric Stenzel said of the event, “Our movement is only beginning—the time has come for all of us to demand change.”