13-Year-Old Climate Leader Alexandria Villaseñor at Third Annual Mother’s Day Climate Rally

The Youth Climate Movement and the Virginia Green New Deal were highlighted last weekend as Northern Virginia residents danced to social justice rock music and heard from a powerful line-up of speakers at our third annual Mother’s Day Climate Rally.

MOTHER'S DAY CLIMATE RALLY 2019: VIRGINIANS DEMAND CLEAN ENERGY NOW!

On Sunday, May 5th in Fairfax City, VA Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, aka “The Mother of the VA Green New Deal,” and climate activist mother/daughter duo Kristin Hogue and Alexandria Villaseñor had the crowd cheering and ready to mobilize for our kids’ future. The lineup was rounded out by local youth activists Mitra Kashani and Wendy Gao, and Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen.

YOUTH CLIMATE LEADER ALEXANDRIA VILLASEÑOR AND HER MOTHER KRISTIN HOGUE

13-year-old Alexandria was our rally’s keynote speaker. She lives in New York City and has been on school strike every Friday since December 14, outside of the United Nations headquarters, demanding climate action and climate justice. Since then, she’s joined with other school strikers around the world to organize the largest youth climate protest in history on March 15: mobilizing 1.6 million students across 125 countries to leave school and demand that world leaders address climate change. She has become a major face of the U.S. youth climate movement and has recently been featured in the Washington Post, National Geographic and Rolling Stone.

ALEXANDRIA VILLASEÑOR

Alexandria spoke about her new nonprofit, Earth Uprising, which will partner with children’s book and educational publisher Scholastic. “I realized the key was education. Earth Uprising will bring climate change education into the schools and teach students how to mobilize for their future.”

“We have to start imagining a new future now in order to make it come true,“ she told rally attendees. “Our next global climate strike is on May 24. We’re coming back bigger, better and more demanding than we ever have been before. As [Swedish youth climate leader] Greta Thunberg says, ‘Change is coming, whether you like it or not.’ The youth will not be stopped.”

ALEXANDRIA VILLASEÑOR & KRISTIN HOGUE, KELSEY CRANE, MITRA KASHANI AND GMU ACTIVISTS

Speaking about the climate rally’s goal of renewing the activist spirit of Mother’s Day, Alexandria’s mother Kristin said that she believes all mothers are activists as they advocate for their children, and that it is a mother’s job to raise activists, as well.

“Every time you encourage your child to sacrifice their time to care for someone less fortunate than themselves, you’re teaching your child how to be an activist. When you teach your child how to stand up for truth, you are teaching your child how to be an activist. ... And when you teach your child to stand for those in oppressed communities when they can’t stand for themselves, you are teaching your child how to be an activist,” she said.

DEL. ELIZABETH GUZMAN

Delegate Guzman spoke about her goals for the Virginia Green New Deal, and her hope that her resolution will bring equal opportunity and a healthy future for every Virginian. Additionally, Senator Chap Petersen spoke about his bill to stop Dominion Energy, a state-regulated corporation, from contributing to the campaigns of state legislators.

STATE SENATOR CHAP PETERSEN

George Mason graduate student Mitra Kashani spoke about her environmental activism at George Mason and with the youth climate group Sunrise Movement.

GMU GRADUATE STUDENT & SUNRISE ACTIVIST MITRA KASHANI

Oakton High School student Wendy Gao spoke about advocating for the Solar on Our Schools project for Fairfax County Public Schools.

HIGH SCHOOL ACTIVIST WENDY GAO

350 Fairfax co-founder read a new Mother's Day Proclamation for 2019. The rally's MC, Kelsey Crane of the Sierra Club-VA, also spoke about her own history as a youth climate activist and growing up within the movement.

350 FAIRFAX CO-FOUNDER JULIE KIMMEL

The Mother’s Day Climate Rally was the largest gathering of climate advocacy groups in our area this year. Organized by NOVA Climate, the rally was co-sponsored by 20 other environmental groups local to Northern Virginia.

Cosponsors and other like-minded organizations displayed information and petitions at their tables; social justice indie rock group M4TR played throughout the rally; and kids’ activities added to the family-friendly atmosphere.

Rally co-sponsors:

350 Alexandria; 350 Fairfax; 350 Loudoun; Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Climate Reality Project—NOVA chapter; Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions; Food & Water Watch; Greater Prince William Climate Action Network; Green Muslims; Herndon-Reston Indivisible; Moms Clean Air Force; Mothers Out Front; Network NOVA; NOVA Climate; Our Revolution—Alexandria; Our Revolution—Arlington; Our Revolution—Northern Virginia; Sierra Club – Virginia Chapter; Sierra Club – Great Falls Group; Sunrise Movement; Virginia Student Environmental Coalition—GMU chapter.

About the Mother’s Day Climate Rally: Mother’s Day has its origins in the Mother’s Day Proclamation, written in 1870 by abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In the wake of the civil war, Howe sought to mobilize mothers around the world to protect future generations of children by outlawing war. The Mother’s Day Climate Rally renews the holiday’s activist spirit by mobilizing people to act on the most important issue of our time, the climate crisis.

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