Climate Change Walkouts, Strike Rally Underway in Chicago Area

on Sep20
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2019-09-20 12:11:46

NOTE: NBC Chicago will offer live coverage of the events Friday morning. Watch live in the player above. 

Several Chicago walkouts and protests began Friday as millions prepare to do the same around the world as part of a day of climate change demonstrations.

A “climate change strike” began in Chicago’s Grant Park Friday morning and youth activists are expected to walk out of their schools to “demand our leaders take immediate action to address the climate crisis.”

Hundreds of young activists from several Chicago suburbs joined in the Grant Park gathering at Columbus Drive and Roosevelt Road with plans to march to Federal Plaza and hold a rally featuring performances and speeches.

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Participants will be encouraged to go from there to the city’s Field Museum, which is hosting a free admission day for Illinois residents.

“All people are welcome to participate, but this movement is really about the young people,” Emily Graslie, chief curiosity correspondent at the Field Museum and keynote speaker at Friday’s downtown rally, said in a statement. “They are the ones calling on adults and world leaders to take action on climate change.”

Among the schools planning walkouts is Trinity High School in River Forest.

At Trinity High School, students plan to line the sidewalks on Division and Lathrop Avenue in River Forest with posters supporting climate change action. The walkout is slated to last 15 minutes.

Millions were expected to join planned demonstrations in Europe, Africa, South America and the United States, where organizers say more than 800 events are expected Friday ahead of a U.N. climate summit in New York.

The worldwide protests are partly inspired by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly demonstrations under the heading “Fridays for Future” over the past year, calling on world leaders to step up their efforts against climate change.

“I am striking because I refuse to sit and watch as our leaders refuse to take action to save our futures again and again,” Isabella Johnson, state director for the IL Youth Climate Strike, said in a statement. “I am striking because I will not accept climate change as an unsolvable problem. I am striking because my generation (and future generation’s) lives depend on it.” 

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