The Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts reportedly alerted parents that their children would not be disciplined for participating in Friday’s global youth climate strike.
As part of a global protest, students from around the state walked out of class Friday and rallied on the steps of the Capitol to demand action on climate change. According to a report from Alpha News, the students asked state legislators to introduce a bill that would require the state’s electric utilities to be 100 percent carbon free. They also called on Gov. Tim Walz to declare a statewide emergency on climate change and halt construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline.
Isra Hirsi, a 16-year-old student at Minneapolis South High School and the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05), spoke at the rally, lamenting the fact that she’s “constantly putting [herself] into white space to be able to do the work that [she] wanted to do.”
“I am stuck in the middle of this crisis,” Hirsi said. “No matter where I stand or you stand, the crisis hits us all.”
Hirsi serves as the executive director for Youth Climate Strike, a group that helped organize Friday’s national protests.
Other speakers stressed the importance of intersectionality in the fight against climate change.
“So all the white allies who are feeling real good, how are you bringing communities of color into this fight? How are you following their leadership? How are you resourcing their movements? How are you fighting for their issues? That is what’s going to save us. That is how we address the climate crisis,” said one speaker.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan addressed the youth protesters on Twitter and thanked them for their “vision and leadership.”
“The images of the millions of young people participating in the climate strike across the globe make me think of my own daughter and the kind of world we’re leaving for her and future generations,” she said. “Young people have always been on the frontlines of social change, and the climate strike is no different. I’m grateful for their vision and leadership. May we be courageous as we make decisions for our communities, state, country, and world.”
Young people have always been on the frontlines of social change, and the #ClimateStrike is no different. I’m grateful for their vision and leadership. May we be courageous as we make decisions for our communities, state, country, and world. (And I hope they run for office!)
— Peggy Flanagan (Untamed) (@peggyflanagan) September 20, 2019
According to The Star Tribune, officials with the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts sent notices to parents before Friday’s protest. While they didn’t condone the protest, they said students would not be disciplined for skipping school.
As The Minnesota Sun reported in January, the Minnesota Department of Education rewrote its K-12 academic standards in science to give teachers greater autonomy in discussing climate change in the classroom.
– – –
Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Minneapolis Youth Climate Strike” by Lorie Shaull. CC BY-SA 2.0.