Today, I reached a milestone as a college Freshmen at a liberal arts school: I attended a political protest. I “joined the conversation” and “participated in the political process” by going to the climate change rally at Battery Park. Mostly, I just felt like the hippie parents from “Family Ties,” but since this was a movement I actually cared about, and I was in close proximity to the lion’s den of political protests, I decided to venture into the city in order to show up and show out. I showed up late to the assembly because my literature class fell right in the middle of it. I understood that the point of a strike is to either ditch school or work so as to have a show of force, but with it being the second week of school I thought that it might not be the best idea to play hookie just yet.
By the time I got to Battery Park, people were funneling into the subway as I was filing out. I just barely missed seeing Greta Thunberg, who I consider to be our lord and savior, deliver her speech, but got to see a Native American tribal woman deliver hers. Shortly thereafter the crowds started thinning but I got to see all kinds of crazy-ass signs and a person dressed like a tree. Most of them consisting of catchy slogans such as “quit denying our earth is dying” and “burn down the plantation, not the planet.”
Not knowing how to protest, I thought that I might need to pack a-climate-strike-starter-set. I struggle with mindfulness, but with this being the hill that I was willing to die on, I wanted to do this right, so I jotted down a checklist to make sure I didn’t forget anything. I packed a protein bar in case I got hungry, a portable charger in case my phone died, a cord for said portable charger also in case my phone died, sunglasses in case it was bright, a hair tie in case it was windy, gloves in case it got cold and Great Expectations in case I wanted some light reading. Shockingly enough, I never got around to reading Great Expectations on my ride up there, mostly because I forced some friends along.
I ended up becoming the hero of the day with my phone charger. The hair tie and sunglasses came in handy, but not so much the gloves. It never even ended up getting slightly chilly. In fact, while Greta was speaking, two people in the crowd apparently fainted from being overheated (ironic). I assumed that the dress code was a sassy t-shirt, so I wore a shirt that says “make our planet great again.” I neglected to make a sign but saw some killer signs wherever I went.
I thought that there was potential for getting arrested for protesting, which does not sound like a bad deal and would make for an excellent story. Getting arrested for protesting makes you look like a stone-cold, disestablishmentarianism down-ass bitch, who is not afraid of the joint, the same way that you’re not afraid of standing beside your convictions. I was kinda hoping for this Hermoine Granger type of attitude where I study really hard but still break the rules and oppose the government, but that seems to be much easier when you’re actually a wizard. I was in that weird stage where I kind of wanted to get arrested because I wanted to get wrecked for the cause but I knew I couldn’t because I had homework due later that week.
Friday was a perfect day, for no better reason than the fact that I was a very small link in a very big chain. Next year, I will make signs, pack lightly, force myself to be on time to see Greta, and embody Hermoine Granger in all of her majestic glory. This climate strike marks the first of many protests I want to join in on and I will be more than ready for the next one.