Young people from Pennsylvania trek to Washington to rally for climate and economic justice

Written by on June 23, 2021

Young people from Pennsylvania trek to Washington to rally for climate and economic justice

By Madison Goldberg / StateImpact Pennsylvania

June 23, 2021

The U.S. Capitol building. Photo | Liam James Doyle/NPR

About a dozen young people from Pennsylvania are setting off on a multi-day trek to Washington, D.C., to rally for a climate and economic justice initiative. 

Personal experience motivates many of the activists.

They’re on their way to the nation’s capital to call for a Civilian Climate Corps, a vision for a federal program that they say would create well-paying jobs designed to tackle the climate crisis.

The activists are part of the Sunrise Movement, a youth climate advocacy organization with chapters across the U.S.

Marielle Miller, who’s from Atglen, Chester County, says their family history makes this proposal feel especially urgent.

“I would hear these stories about my great-grandfather going into the mines with a broken leg because he couldn’t afford to take off work,” Miller says. 

And their grandfather, a coal miner, eventually died of emphysema.

“I don’t want anyone else to go through that,” she says. 

Mary Collier, from Lewisburg, Union County, sees it as a way to protect workers’ livelihoods during a transition to renewable energy.

“I think about all the people in my rural, central-PA community who are relying on these fossil fuel jobs only because they need, yeah, good-paying work. They don’t want to be hurting the planet, but they have no other choice, and so these are the people I think about and who I’m fighting for,” Collier says. 

They say Pennsylvania’s role in securing President Biden’s electoral victory makes Harrisburg a meaningful place to start the march and will arrive at the White House next week, joining a rally alongside Sunrise Movement members from around the country.

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