The concept of college being an educational arena both in and outside of the classroom is not new. I just did not expect to be so moved by an educational experience outside of the classroom so quickly into my college career. September 20, 2019 marked the day of the Global Climate Strike, and it was amazing. Not only did it mark my first of many advocacy experiences in college, but I got to march through Downtown Walla Walla fighting for the thing I feel most passionately about: the environment.
The event was kicked off by a gathering at Memorial Hall with some of my closest friends. As the clock struck 12, organizers began to tell us about the importance of this movement and the urgency for action that the current climate crisis brings.
The march itself began as energetic as it ended. As we passed Reid and moved our way into downtown, we began to cycle through the chants we had just learned. From “System change, not climate change!” to “The wrong Ice is melting! The wrong Amazon is burning!” to “Decorprotize, demilitarize, decolonize. Organize!” they all served and achieved the same purpose which was to unite us, empower us, as well as the residents of Walla Walla. I had never felt closer to a group of people I had just gotten to know over the past month than I did in that moment.
As we approached the County Clerk’s office, we surrounded the doorsteps to hear more words of wisdom, encouragement, and passion. We were told that we have all the power to demand action and make sure our planet is habitable for our children. To close, we sang about change as a unit and fighting for a future regardless of what entity tries to stop us.
When we dispersed, the feeling of gratitude rushed through me; gratitude for my new home, for my peers, and the new found power I have to create real change in the world.