Fridays for Future protesters walk out of school to demand climate legislation

Thousands of high school and college students marched from Foley Square to the Brooklyn Bridge to protest government inaction on climate change.


Jason Alpert-Wisnia

undreds of people marched from Foley Square in Manhattan to Brooklyn’s Borough Hall as a part of a climate protest. (Jason Alpert-Wisnia for WSN)

Emma Grimes, Contributing Writer

Thousands of people marched across the Brooklyn Bridge from Foley Square Friday afternoon, calling for legislators to pass a bill aimed at reducing net carbon emissions in New York to zero. If passed, the bill will set a target for New York state to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Many in attendance were high school and college students who walked out of class to protest climate policies in the United States. 

At the forefront of the march were members of the New York City chapter of Fridays for Future, the worldwide student organization founded by climate activist Greta Thunberg in 2018. Student members of Extinction Rebellion, an international organization that advocates for climate action, also attended the protest.

Gigi Weisberg, a Gallatin sophomore who attended Friday’s march, founded the New York City student chapter of Extinction Rebellion last spring. Weisberg said she thinks it is important for young people to speak out on climate issues because they will be more affected by climate change than past generations.

“The march is really cool because it’s organized by the high school students, and they’ve all walked out,” Weisberg said. “They’re really making something that we can all look for in young people who should be leading the movement.”

Charlotte Annesi, an LS first-year, attended the march because she is frustrated by corporate dependence on fossil fuels, despite their negative impact on the environment.

“This is a horrible situation that we’re going through, and the fact that big companies and the government are ignoring the obvious elephant in the room when it comes to environmental problems is disgusting,” Annesi said. 

Helen Mancini, a high school student and march organizer, explained that FFF hosts two large strikes every March and September. Mancini said she was happy with how the march went, but said the group is struggling to regain its momentum in the wake of COVID-19.

Arya, a high school student, left in the middle of her school day to attend the march. She said that she believes students should advocate against climate change to show their commitment to their generation’s future, even if it may affect classwork. 

“We technically haven’t really got permission to be here,” she said. “That’s the most important part of these strikes. We’re calling attention to the fact that students ultimately have to care more about their future than the classes we might be missing.”

Correction, March 7: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Charlotte Annesi’s parents are living in East Palestine, Ohio. The article has been updated to reflect the correction and WSN regrets the error.

Contact Emma Grimes at [email protected].