Yale Students Walk Out Of Classes To Join Global Week Of Climate Strikes

by Fossil Free Yale

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, 500 Yale students walked out of their classes at noon as part of the global week of climate strikes, claiming that business as usual cannot continue while Yale remains invested in fossil fuel companies and Puerto Rico’s debt. The students and community members, who marched to President Salovey’s office from Cross Campus, pointed to Yale’s political and economic influence and demanded that Yale divest from the fossil fuel industry and cancel its holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt.

At noon, students stood up in their seminars, lectures, and workplaces, spoke briefly about the urgency of the climate crisis and their reasons for walking out, and then led their classmates to Cross Campus for a rally. Many students walked out of introductory physics and biology lectures, microeconomics, and a class called “Natural Disasters,” all of which had course rosters of over one hundred people. Professors in Yale College, as well as the Law School, the Divinity School, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, canceled classes in solidarity with the protestors.

“We are in a moment of unprecedented youth mobilization for climate justice,” said Elea Hewitt, a member of the Association of Native Americans at Yale, who walked out of her Sex, Markets and Power lecture. “We feel we cannot continue to sit in our classes while Yale invests in companies that contribute to the climate crisis and exploit the people first affected.”

Speakers at the Yale rally included Adriana Colón-Adorno, a member of the Puerto Rican student group Despierta Boricua, who spoke about the effects of intensified storms on the island. A Yale School of Forestry student, Manon Lefevre, spoke about the linkage between the Amazon fires and Yale’s continued investments in fossil fuels. By the end of the rally, over 1000 Yale alumni and current students had signed a pledge not to donate to the university until they met the protestors’ demands.

The walkout of Sept. 25 followed a rally on the New Haven Green on Friday, Sept. 20 that drew 400 people. That event was led by the high schoolers from the New Haven Climate Movement Youth Action Team, and was part of the largest coordinated day of climate action in history, with 4,500 events in 150 countries and an estimated total of 4 million participants.

Press contacts:  Martin Man, martinmi5@hotmail.com, (845) 505-9281; Nora Heaphy, nmarie.heaphy@gmail.com, (203) 584-8017. Organization email: fossilfreeyale@gmail.com.

100+ Attend May 1 International Worker’s Day March in New Haven

by Melinda Tuhus

may-day-2016-iiMore than a hundred people marched through downtown New Haven Sunday May 1, in the annual immigrants’ rights action. An enthusiastic crowd led by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) braved cold May showers on May Day this year.

The march included mostly young activists, children and college students. There were many signs and banners and robust chanting. No more deportations!

The marchers were accompanied by a lively group of very humorous and energetic “Radical Cheerleaders.” As the group walked down Chapel Street, the chants called for free education and free health care for all, as well as immigrants’ labor rights. Yale senior Sebi Medina-Tayac, a member of the Piscataway Nation as well as ULA, said the group wanted to bring attention especially to immigrant labor in New Haven, which is concentrated in construction and food service.

ULA works to create a vision for workers’ rights and freedom for all people based not only on lefty labor movements, but also to show the labor movement as something that’s diverse, changing, global and inclusive of people from all backgrounds regardless of citizen status or the color of their skin.

may-day-2016-iMarchers stopped to chant in front of restaurants that they say have mistreated their workers. They said Atticus restaurant fired a long-time worker who spoke out against a pay cut and hired a union-busting firm to thwart the mostly immigrant workers’ attempt to unionize. The owner was not available and a manager said their policy was not to comment on the charges.

The march also stopped at Calhoun College to protest the college named after an avowed racist.

Thank you to New Haven Workers Association – Unidad Latina en Acción for continuing to fight for the dignity of all our communities! Together they seek to build unity for racial, gender and economic justice, including defending the freedom and dignity of and respect for all people and the planet.