‘It is not just to stand on the street’: Student leaders guide community engagement in climate strike


Rose Sarner

Student leaders of The Artemis Center set up a poster board during the club fair, informing the community on opportunities to engage with service. This year, as the club fair coincided with the Los Angeles climate strike, the Artemis center provided students with information about the strike happening that same day and encouraged students to sign a petition for California plastic laws.

By Rose Sarner, Archer School for Girls

The annual global climate strike demanded urgent action for climate justice in 99 countries different countries, according to The Guardian. Friday, Sept. 24, marked the global climate strike organized by Fridays for the Future, a youth-led and global climate strike movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate justice.

Fridays for Future is part of a new wave of change, inspiring millions of people to take action on the climate crisis. Senior Paola Hoffman is an active member of the Youth Climate Organization and she coordinates their social media and graphic design. The Climate Strike took place in Downtown Los Angeles and had been planned for months now, with a team of 10-15 people, in hopes of educating the community about the climate crisis.

“Our goal is to invoke an activist outreach program that we’re planning for schools to bring climate education to schools,” Hoffman said. “We have lots of plans for follow-up so the idea behind this strike is really to send a message.”

During the club fair in the courtyard on Sept.24, the Artemis Center promoted the Climate Strike while encouraging students to sign a California petition aiming to put a ban on all plastic. The Artemis Center promotes student activism and service inside and outside of the Archer community and encourages students to get involved in their areas of interest.

Action happens when you know you’re not the only one […] organizing, raising your voice and providing information. We hope we will inspire people from all over.

— Paola Hoffman

“The role of the Artemis Center is always to exemplify student activism and support students […] who are helping to create positive change in the world and to let others know about the work they are doing,” Head of the Artemis Center Beth Gold said. “[We] aim to highlight the strategies they are doing to create change, and to encourage others to step up.”

This year, the Los Angeles Climate Strike began at 10:00 a.m. on Friday and lasted until 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.  This 24-hour long strike to demand justice provided information about the Green New Deal and environmental justice. The event offered opportunities for people to make signs and pickets for the rallies and featured global music sensations Lil Dicky and Benny Blanco. This was one of many climate strikes nationally.

“I’m really appreciative of Archer giving me the chance to share this with the whole school and spread the word to as many people as I’m able to,” Hoffman said. “I’m also appreciative that they’ll be running a booth at the fair to help encourage people to show up to the main rally.”

In 2019, the Artemis Center bussed students to Downtown Los Angeles to march to support the Climate Strike. This year, students were not allowed to miss school to participate in the strike but instead encouraged to join after school. At the Artemis Center booth, students were able to collect resources and logistics to engage in the strike after school.

“Our goal was to provide an opportunity for students to get involved and promote a sustainable livable future,” junior Charlotte Tragos, a member of the Artemis Center, said. “Advocating for climate justice is especially important for our generation and we are already seeing the effect of poor climate care in our daily lives. Even last week when smoke clouded the sky in Los Angeles, I heard middle schoolers talk about where the fires are coming from. The Artemis Center’s goal is to get students involved in activism and this was a great opportunity to educate our community.”

Gold and Tragos said that the Artemis Center is just getting started and that they are already planning other events to promote student activism. Some occasions they are working on include providing opportunities for students to engage in the Women’s March, a drive for International Day of the Girl and a speaker series including empowering activists.

“I hope Paola stands as an example that there are ways that students who are not of voting age yet and not adults can still have an impact and encourage others to have an impact,” Gold said. “I hope others were inspired by her example and were encouraged to follow their passion in terms of the issue that they want to create change with.”

According to Inside Climate News, at least 1,300 protests were planned around the world including about 300 in the United States.

“It is not just to stand on the street and make noise,” Hoffman said, “it is to help people learn how they can do something, and learn why it matters.”

This story was originally published on The Oracle on October 4, 2021.