Thousands of high-school students and more than a few adults from across the Boston area jammed City Hall Plaza today as part of global climate-strike protests.
"We have 11 years, people!" one of the organizers, Saya Ameli Hajebi, a 17-year-old senior at Brookline High School, told the crowd. "We don't have time to waste!"
Hajebi, who moved here from Tehran when she was 9, recalled how, on a visit to the country of Georgia recently to reunite with her cousins and grandparents, who still live in Iran, a car crash almost killed her mom, aunt and cousin - and said she doesn't want anybody else to go through the pain she endured, only because of climate change, whether from a hurricane in the Bahamas or wildfires in California.
And while Republicans in Washington bore the brunt of people's anger at the rally, she pointed to Gov. Baker as well - in fact, the rally became a march from the plaza up to the State House, where Hajebi and others demanded a declaration of a climate emergency and a halt to more construction of fossil-fuel infrastructure in the state.
Hajebi with supporters after she spoke:
A core group of about 40 Boston-area students organized the protest and its logistics. In Boston, BPS students could get an "excused absence" for attending.
Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) told the crowd that Boston is particularly vulnerable to climate change in the form of rising seas - parts already flood during storms at high tide, she said. But Wu pointed to Boston's history of firsts and activism to point to a more optimistic future, "if we all pull together," from the first public park, public library public school and subway system to the way Bostonians stopped the state from ramming an interstate highway through the heart of the city and won a fight for affordable housing in places such as Tent City.
Now, Bostonians need to demand a ban on further fossil-fuel infrastructure, more protection for wetlands, more green jobs and "public transportation that is reliable, essential and free!" Wu, who took a bus and the Orange Line to the rally, said. She then urged people in the crowd to "turn to your neighbor and say we are in this together! We are in this together!"
The crowd loudly applauded both Wu and Sen. Ed Markey, co-sponsor of the Green New Deal proposal. Markey did not speak, but he walked around City Hall Plaza during the rally.
After her speech, Wu posed with some Northeastern students:
Other scenes from the rally:
The protest moved to the State House:
A button salesman wasn't getting too many sales, but he bopped to the music that played before the speeches began: