Photo by Clare Lanaghan.
To view more photos — and add your own — of UUs at various marches around the country, go here.
While 200,000 folks were marching at the People’s Climate March in DC this past weekend, I marched through the rainy, windy streets of Chicago, one of over 370 sister marches around the world.
Protestors rallied at Federal Plaza downtown to hear local speakers call out environmental racism that has long plagued the city, demand an end to capitalism, and call for May Day strikes.
Rev. Ashley Horan, with the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance, gave the induction. She spoke of her long history of organizing, which began in second grade when she formed a group to battle pollution, which allowed her to see how directly she was part of the interdependent web of life of which we are all a part. She invited the audience to take a moment to ground themselves on the Earth, feeling their feet on the surface below the carpet.
Nancy led a movement exercise, getting the audience to sing and dance to the song “Love Reaches Out” by artists from the DC-based interfaith social justice arts organization The Sanctuaries. She was inspired by another organizer telling her, if you want to organize people to act, you need to move together.
Clare talked about growing up in Iowa, and not taking the landscapes of corn for granted. She urged the audience to develop a nuanced awareness of the land around them, practicing active engagement through things like planting a garden.
Clare and I asked the audience to make a pledge for climate justice, inviting them to respond creatively. We had faith flags with elemental designs created by Abigail Clauhs, a station for sand art, and a large mural where folks added their vision of climate justice. Nancy led an Elm Tree Dance, inspired by Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects.
In my personal reflection, I spoke of how we can’t have climate justice without racial justice. Part of the work of white folks is to acknowledge and challenge whiteness, coming to terms with personal and cultural histories of colonialism. (You can read the full text of that message here.)
We concluded the night singing along to “Blue Boat Home” by Peter Mayer.
I am so grateful to have been part of this moment, this movement, in solidarity with everyone in DC, at sister marches, and everyone who couldn’t make it but wanted to. Many thanks to Nancy Combs-Morgan, Clare Lanaghan, Rev. Ashley Horan and all the folks at Mid-America Regional Assembly for making this worship as amazing as it could be.