Richmonders, VCU students gather at Monroe Park to join worldwide climate strike

Nicholas Da Silva speaks to a crowd of people urging action on climate change at Monroe Park on Friday.

Katharine DeRosa, Contributing Writer

A crowd including everyone from grandparents to newborns gathered in Monroe Park on Friday evening, joining scores of protests around the world aimed at promoting awareness of climate change and urging action from policymakers. 

Following the rally at Monroe Park, protestors — including VCU students and Richmond residents — marched along Broad Street toward City Hall. Young children carried signs with the help of their parents, and students held posters high as they chanted, “This is what democracy looks like.”

Richmond native David Lee brought his two young children with him, 

“I wanted my kids to see what a movement like this looks like,” he said.

Nathan Hill, a freshman majoring in kinesiology, marched with his fellow students.

“[This] just makes me feel good,” Hill said. “Like we’re trying to get something done.”

Before the march to City Hall began, protesters listened to a speech from Nicholas Da Silva, a political science graduate and community organizer running for the 5th District city council seat.

“Protesting is our JV sport at VCU,” Da Silva said.

As protesters walked down Broad Street — which marchers dubbed “our street” in chants — traffic was forced to notice. Some drivers honked briefly while pumping their fists, while other drivers added long, sustained honks as they waited behind other cars.

Once at City Hall, the protesters quieted down to listen to speeches and spend five minutes in silence before the group dispersed. 

The Richmond protesters were among millions urging action on climate change around the world. Swedish climate activist Greta Thuburg joined a protest of about 250,000 in New York. Marchers also took to the streets in Melbourne, London, Manila and Rio de Janeiro.

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