Hundreds of people assembled in downtown Los Angeles and around the Southland Friday for Global Climate Strike events aimed at raising awareness of climate change, including some students who walked out of school to take part in the event.
Los Angeles Unified School District officials discouraged students from leaving campuses, instead encouraging on-campus climate-related events. Superintendent Austin Beutner and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were among those set to visit schools and talk to students about the issue.
But the district’s stay-in-school message wasn’t completely unified. LAUSD Board of Education member Nick Melvoin wrote on Twitter, “Sending my full support to all the students in Los Angeles and across the world walking out today to demand action on global climate change — the passion and courage of these young leaders gives me so much hope for our future.”
Beutner and LAUSD board president Monica Garcia met with students at Multnomah Street Elementary School, where students took part in climate-related activities.
Despite the calls for students to remain on campus, some opted to leave, most notably at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, where a planned walkout occurred.
Participants in the Global Climate Strike event in downtown Los Angeles began gathering at Pershing Square late Friday morning in advance of the midday rally.
By 3 p.m., many of them had amassed at Los Angeles City Hall on the south court with signs and chanting demanding governmental changes to address climate change. A few people had climbed a statute in the center of the courtyard and draped a sign over demanding that the world “fix” its collective environment.
About a dozen LAPD officers arrived at the south end of City Hall when the crowds started demanding that elected officials come out and address their concerns, but officers said in passing that the gathering was “peaceful” and they hadn’t seen any arrests made.
Earlier on Friday, Garcetti announced the formation of a new youth council that will address climate change issues.
The Mayor’s Youth Council on Climate Action will be a collection of high school and college students who will help the city design policies and strategize on how to mitigate climate change effects.
Garcetti was joined during the announcement by students and activists at John Marshall High School.
The youth council will meet on a monthly basis to develop plans and objectives for the coming year and encourage fellow young Angelenos to get involved and kick off a coordinated campaign with the Mayor’s Office to address climate change.
Members of the council will be announced ahead of the first meeting next Friday, Sept. 27.
Other strike events were scheduled at USC, Westchester, Santa Monica, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Pasadena, Long Beach, Anaheim, Tustin, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Claremont.
Similar gatherings were being held throughout the country and around the world, with participants calling for worldwide action to address reliance on fossil fuels and action to improve the environment.
The event is being held in advance of next week’s United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.
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