Huge Leeds protest planned today as Youth4Climate and Black Lives Matter join up for Millennium Square rally
Two Leeds organisations are uniting to host a large demonstration in the city centre today.
Youth4Climate Leeds and Black Live Matter Leeds will protest in Millennium Square from 3pm, with the rally expected to last three hours.
Themed 'wave of change', organisers say the demonstration will raise awareness of climate and racial justice and highlight how the two issues are intertwined.
It follows Youth4Climate Leeds’ past strikes, where young people skipped school to protest against climate change.
The demonstration is part of what organisers are hailing as "a rebirth of the UK’s climate crisis movement", a global day of climate action under the banner of Fridays For Future.
It's being held in response to the 'code red for humanity' - the latest warning from the United Nations’ IPCC report showing intensified climate breakdown - and the global struggle for racial justice, led by groups such as Black Lives Matter.
The theme of the demonstration, Wave of Change, will discuss the different experiences people have of dealing with the effects of climate change.
Cherry, a 15-year-old member of Youth4Climate Leeds, said: “We are all in the same storm right now, but we are sitting in very different boats.
"Some people, particularly those from ethnic minorities and those from poorer backgrounds, will face much greater difficulties as a result of climate breakdown, and that’s not fair.
"We’ll be in the streets to demand that racial and social equality are put at the heart of climate policies.”
There will be speakers and workshops at the demonstration, including art workshops led by local artist Orange Ibreck and a Q&A session with a climate researcher, led by the University of Leeds’ Priestley Centre.
Staff and students from the University of Leeds will rally outside the Parkinson Building at 3.15pm, before marching to Millennium Square to join the protest.
The groups are calling for all political parties to back the UK’s Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill in the lead up to COP26.
Rosa, 15, from Seacroft, added: “Our generation is part of the global 99 per cent who are going to suffer hugely from the effects of climate change.
"Young people didn’t cause it but now we’re expected to sort it out.”
Together with Black Lives Matter Leeds, Youth4Climate Leeds say they are pushing for a climate curriculum and greater education on social justice in schools.
A British sign language interpreter will be present at the protest, along with welfare areas, quiet zones and live streaming for those who are unable to attend.
The co-founder of Black Lives Matter Leeds, Marvina Newton, said: "We need to do everything in our power to support safety for young people.
"This is our shared mission. Black Lives Matter Leeds are an ally to youth led climate action, just as youth climate activists stand with us against racial inequality.
"We call for the city to join us and stand in solidarity for our children and youth’s future to Act Now for climate Justice. This is an intersectional environmentalist approach to tackle the climate emergency.
"People united can never be defeated.”
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