Today we did something huge. Over a thousand students from 25 campuses walked out in the largest student action of the Trump era. From middle schools to colleges and universities, young people across the country rose up to demand that our institutions choose the future of our generation over the fossil fuel industry and Trump’s climate denial.
On an unusually hot day in November 2015 I stopped by my local coffee shop in Parktown, a suburb of South Africa’s thriving Johannesburg. I ordered my chai and went to take a seat, and I couldn’t help but notice a paper sitting there on the counter with a title that read “5 dead after extreme heat wave rolls through Mpumalanga.”
On Wednesday morning after Donald Trump won the presidency, the staff and long term strategy team of the Divestment Student Network came together to meet. As person after person cried and spoke about their heartbreak and fear, what rose to the top was how grateful we all are to have this community. We didn’t see this moment coming, but as campaign coach and racial justice coordinator Jong Chin said, we have been preparing for this. Our four years of training, organizing and relationship building have allowed the divestment movement to win incredible victories, and they have made us ready for this moment. The networks of young people that exist across this country are powerful, and we are ready to support each other to grieve and to rise.
My name is Greta Neubauer and I am the new director at the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network. I’ve been organizing with the DSN since our first meeting, at the 2013 Power Up! Convergence at Swarthmore College. I am deeply humbled to be in this position, and grateful to have the opportunity to continue being part of and building this incredible movement.