Dear Colleagues (please also share with your students),
This Friday, September 20th, is the Global Climate Strike inspired by the climate activism of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old Swedish teenager who spurred a movement by sitting down in front of the Swedish Parliament and demanding bold action on the climate crisis.
As the national website for the Climate Strike explains:
On September 20, young people and adults will strike to demand transformative action be taken to address the climate crisis. Building on a historic surge of student protests and strikes for climate action, the September 20 strike comes ahead of the United Nations Summit on Climate Change three days later, when world leaders will convene in New York with the goal of deepening climate ambition. More than 6,000 people in 150 countries are already pledging to organize events on September 20 and during the Week of Action that will follow it.
Earlier this summer our CFT Executive Council along with the national AFT and our own Local 1931 endorsed the student Climate Strike for this Friday. While we know that there are not many classes offered on Fridays in our Districts, we encourage you to support any activities planned by students on our campuses that day. The CFT, in 2016, was the first statewide labor organization to adopt a Climate Justice agenda, and we since then have created a committee that is focused on this issue. You can find our newly updated series of five flyers for use in your locals and in your classrooms in our Climate Justice Toolkit. You can also find resources at AFT’s Sharemylesson.com and learn more about labor’s role in the climate justice movement at Labor Network for Sustainability.
If you are interested in joining our AFT student interns from both the SDCCD and GCCCD on Friday 9/20 at 11:45, they will be meeting at De Anza Cove Park on North Mission Bay Drive along with activists from the Audubon Society and SD 350 and marching in solidarity with local high school students to call for bold action on climate. To find other actions to support in San Diego go here: https://climatewalkoutsd.org. To read AFT Guild, Local 1931 Political Action VP Jim Miller’s column on the Global Climate Strike go here: https://obrag.org/2019/09/global-climate-strike-this-friday-september-20th/.
As AFT National President Randi Weingarten stated in her message to AFT leaders:
As teachers, school staff, faculty, grad assistants, nurses and healthcare workers, and public employees, we in the AFT teach about the importance of civic engagement and the exercise of First Amendment rights to demonstrate and assemble. We appreciate that many of our students are fighting for climate change to be addressed.
Many of us can recall how we challenged injustice when we were students, and how it was the beginning of a lifelong commitment to activism and fairness and justice. Inspired by the union strikes and mobilizations of earlier times, the students striking on Sept. 20 are using a collective, disruptive action to defend their future. This is their moment to lead and our moment to learn, support and get to know them . . . The fight for a healthy climate will not be won in a day. This is a long-term fight, which starts with education.
So if you cannot join an action this week, perhaps consider incorporating some aspect of climate literacy into your class or think of a way for your students to research the issue themselves. With the climate crisis threatening to rob future generations of students of a sustainable world, the very least we can do is support them and help give them the tools to win the future.
Jim Mahler, President
AFT Guild, Local 1931