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Kresge Foundation stands with Climate Strike supporters


While The Kresge Foundation is out of the office today for an all-staff retreat, we took a moment to acknowledge the millions of youth who are out of the classroom today demanding climate action and climate justice.

The origins of the Climate Strike began on a Friday, just over a year ago, when a 15-year-old Swedish student named Greta Thunberg skipped school to protest outside Swedish Parliament, demanding meaningful action on climate change. The next Friday, Greta skipped school again, and was joined by fellow students, teachers, and parents. Her school strikes grew into a movement—Fridays for Future—and spread around the world. By August of this year, more than 3.5 million students in 170 countries had joined the weekly school strikes. The strikes are cresting today with a wave of youth-led protests around the world demanding climate action and climate justice.

The youth have asked adults to support them, and join them, in today’s Climate Strike—and adults are stepping up. Thousands of medical professionals have signed a virtual “doctor’s note” encouraging teachers to excuse students in recognition of the threat that climate change poses to their health. Many school districts, including New York City’s, have given students permission to miss classes to join the protests. Other schools are holding teach-ins on climate change and climate action.

More than 1,200 Amazon employees are calling in sick and walking out on their jobs today—and demanding that Amazon do more to support climate action. Many companies are giving staff paid time off to participate. Some companies are closing their stores, shutting down their websites, and adding banners to their websites during the Strike. With millions of people participating in one way or another, today’s Climate Strike is likely to be the largest environmental mobilization in history.

The heart of the protests will be in New York City, where the UN is preparing to host a Youth Climate Summit tomorrow and a Climate Action Summit on Monday. Greta, the student who started the school strikes, sailed from Europe to New York to participate. Since coming ashore last month, Greta has engaged with local activists, spoken before Congress, and met with everyone from Trevor Noah to President Obama. She’s marching in the streets today, and she’s asked for support from all of us.

The Kresge Foundation is proud to stand in solidarity with Greta and with all of the youth who are fighting for a better future.

— Jessica Boehland, Senior Program Officer, The Environment Program