The Kimberley Youth Action Network (KYAN) has been working hard over the past few weeks at Selkirk Secondary School to get students involved in the ‘Fridays for Future’ walkout for climate change that is taking place on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.
KYAN Coordinator Lori Joe says that this will be a very important walkout event for students all around the world, and this time they are asking adults to join in.
According to the Fridays for Future website, the movement began in August 2018 after Greta Thunberg sat in front of Swedish Parliament every school day for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. She posted what she was doing on social media, and it very quickly went viral.
Joe explained that it’s important to see how much this movement is growing, specifically in “our corner of the province”.
Nelson, Joe says, will be closing many of their downtown stores during the walkout. Golden has a whole event planned in the afternoon including a concernt in the park. Invermere is participating, and students from Cranbrook will be carpooling to Kimberley to take part in the KYAN-led walkout. Even the grade two and three students at the Kimberley Independent School are currently making t-shirts and practicing songs to sing for when they meet their older peers in the Platzl.
Students in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Montreal, Guelph, Halifax and many other Canadian cities will also be taking part in the Fridays For Future strike. Joe says that millions of young people are expected to participate. She explained that at McGill University in Montreal, 150,000 students have signed up.
“It’s important to take this seriously and listen to the younger generations, who have to live on this planet for a lot longer than we do,” Joe said. “It’s a big conversation around the world and I think everyone should be listening. New York City has given their students the day off to participate.”
She adds that in Kimberley, all of the proper steps have been taken to accommodate the walkout, including notifying the RCMP and Chamber of Commerce.
“The one way we were able to make this happen was through compromise, and hosting the walkout during the sudents’ lunch time,” Joe explained. “It’s a real social justice movement that’s taking place and it’s important for kids to learn and grow and have a voice. It will all be safe and positive, and is meant to be peaceful.”
Students will be walking out of class on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 10:55 a.m.. They will be walking from Selkirk to downtown Kimberley, meeting in the Platzl Gazebo at 11:15 a.m.. There will be a short speech by the students in front of City Hall as they continue their walk. Joe says that students hope other members of the community will join them in the gazebo at 11:15.