Please see photos of the Chester County event on google drive (accessible to all) here, set up by Jess Cadorette of Penn Environment, but all are welcome to contribute photos. Samples (by Vince Moro):
Also, press release below:
For Immediate Release: September 10, 2018
For More Information: Jess Cadorette, 610-717-6680, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chesco Citizens rallied with thousands across the country for national Rise for Climate, Jobs, & Justice movement
West Chester, PA – In solidarity with a national movement, 175 activists marched in West Chester on Saturday to call for bold climate action. Despite the climate’s clear warning signs, our federal administration continues to roll back critical environmental protections and even denies the existing climate crisis. From the raging heat waves and the burning wildfires, to the extreme downpours — it is an inescapable fact that our climate is changing before our eyes.
In response, the People’s Climate Movement organized a national day of action: the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice. West Chester hosted one of the more than 250 events that occurred on Saturday as citizens across the U.S. rallied in solidarity to demand bold climate action. Over 100 community members gathered outside of the courthouse to hear from an engaging lineup of speakers that addressed a broad spectrum of environmental and climate issues.
Local activist Silvia Martínez Uribe spoke about injustices both here and abroad and how we need to hold industry accountable when they aren’t caring for their employees or the environment they reside one. George Alexander, local member of Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety, spoke to one of the most important local issues — the Mariner East II Pipeline. He noted the environmental tragedies that will continue to occur if this pipeline is permitted to be completed and used: increased fracking for natural gas in western PA, increased air pollution where the fracked gas will be processed and exported, and increased pollution in general as the pipeline’s end purpose is for materials to make more plastic.
US Army veteran, Sgt Gerald Brown noted how he’s always fought for his family, but his fight has changed: “I fought in Vietnam for the Red, White, and Blue. Now I fight at home to save the country from itself. Air pollution is affecting my family’s health and I work on educating people as well as getting them to help work toward eliminating burning fossils fuels. We can make a difference if people work together.”
Elizabeth and Vince Moro from Neighbors for Crebilly spoke about how they’re working together with their community to fight for the protection of local beautiful land from unnecessary development.
Reverend Kyle J. Boyer inspiringly spoke about the incredible need for more care, compassion, and proper stewardship of our natural environment before it’s too late.
Great Valley High School senior Saira Salyani had a powerful message for all: “It’s more than voting; it’s making your voice heard. Democracies don’t work until all citizens participate.” Salyani, who won’t be old enough to vote in this year’s election, had a message specifically aimed for young listeners: “Our age isn’t relevant. Consider the ways we can trade apathy and take action.If you’re a student, by the time you graduate, you’ll be living in a world shaped by the policies of right now. That means we all have a responsibility to our generation and the next…we’re going to use the power we have as citizens in order to make a difference.”
Keynote speaker Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and the leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, highlighted the need for a new constitutional amendment for our nation just like Pennsylvania’s green amendment.
“On Saturday, we gathered together to rise up in the face of climate and environmental injustice here and everywhere,” said van Rossum. “I was honored to talk about our unique and vital constitutional provisions protecting our right to clean air, pure water, and a healthy environment, and how Pennsylvania should serve as an inspiration to people across the nation and the world to fight for their environmental rights. The time has come to embrace our constitutional right to a healthy environment and demand a just future for all.”
After listening to the powerful speakers, the revved-up crowd carried signs, banners, and posters as they cheered and chanted their way through the streets. Led by former West Chester Mayor Jordan Norley, the rally marched its way to Everhart Park to convene and take action.
Local groups, including many of those making up the Chester County Environmental Alliance, provided ways to get involved, kids’ activities, and refreshments as attendees gathered after their afternoon of activism.
“Real change in America begins at the local level. It always has. We cannot wait for others to act on climate policy,” said West Chester Mayor Dianne Herrin. “Across the country, people and communities are mobilized for bold action on climate because we recognize that this is in all of our best interests. It’s about growing sustainable jobs, stabilizing the climate catastrophes impacting people, communities, and agriculture across the country and the world, and creating a hopeful future for our children.”
The event would not have been possible without the help of the newly-formed Chester County Environmental Alliance — an alliance of almost 20 different environmentally-focused groups working in the Chester County area to preserve and protect our natural world. Learn more about the CCEA (and how to join) at chescoenvt.org.
All of the speakers, chants, and voices of the day focused on one thing: the need for communities to join together and call for bold climate action so we can move towards a safe and healthy environment for all.
The afternoon was organized thanks to the following co-sponsors: Citizens Climate Lobby – Chester County group, Del-Chesco United for Community Safety, Don’t Spray Me!, East Goshen Safety and Environmental Advocates (EGSEA), Faith Alliance for Pipeline Safety, Neighbors for Crebilly, NextGen America, PennEnvironment, Ready for 100 Chester County, Sierra Club of Chester County, Sierra Club Youth Corps, Uwchlan Safety Coalition, West Chester Co-operative.