Alejandro Vasquez, a regular Friday striker, waits for his friends in front of City Hall in Manhattan, before a protest in the “pre-COVID-19” era. (Maddie Kornfeld)

Youth climate strikers carry the momentum

New York City’s youth climate strikers are shifting their movement work from the streets to online spaces. 

By Maddie Kornfeld

Before COVID-19 hit New York City, a group of youth activists skipped school every Friday to protest in front of City Hall. They did it to draw attention to the climate crisis that threatens their futures. Now, COVID-19 has changed the ways they share their message with the world. Pre-pandemic, these strikers used art, visual demonstrations and nonviolent protests to both fight for climate justice and turn their climate anxiety into action. Their shift to digital spaces presents a challenge to the momentum of their movement work but also some unexpected new avenues for solidarity and expression.

Special thanks to Alejandro Vasquez, Shiloh Janowick-Cockrell, Margot Willocq, and Olivia Wohlgemuth. Protest audio was provided by Alejandro Vasquez. Many thanks to Kalli Anderson and Chad Bernhard for all of their help with this project!

Music: “Elk” by Meydän. (The section used in this audio story is an excerpt from the original.)  Link to music here. Creative commons license here
Away” by Meydän. (The section used in this audio is an excerpt from the original.) Link to music here. Creative commons license here.