Because climate devastation does not respect borders--or even walls!--climate activists have shown prowess in coordinating rallies and demonstrations across the world. The huge People's Climate Marches of September 2014 and April 2017 (in which JCAN participated) are sterling examples. Another was held yesterday, on September 8, 2018, drawing more than 250,000 people in 900 actions according to 350.org. The Boston chapter of JCAN participated in strength.

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A rally that day drew 500 at its peak to the Memorial Park in East Boston, in a neighborhood that has attracted a large immigrant population. The organizers, a who's who of climate activists, reached out to local populations by emphasizing environmental justice and the trend known as "intersectionality" that ties all social movements for the oppressed and forgotten peoples.

All presentations were made in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. The formal presentations began with a recognition of Massachusetts--not the state, but the native people who were here in the 1600s before their land was taken by European settlers. Rights of immigrants who came more recently were also a strong theme.

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The rally was followed by workshops about social justice and the environment, drawing 25 to 30 people to each of the four groups. And the day ended with a march to a proposed site for a electrical power transfer station that again demonstrates the intersection between carbon generation and risks to underprivileged populations. The station would be dangerously close--one block away--from tens of thousands of gallons of highly flammable aircraft fuel.

One of our JCAN activists, David Schreiber participated in the planning events for this rally and served as a marshal and liaison with the police. He set up a table with the JCAN banner, which attracted about 20 curious people. Most had not heard of JCAN or even knew that a coordinated Jewish response to climate change existed, so the event was highly effective from JCAN's standpoint. We also let people know that a Boston-area partner organization, the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA), has a climate action team focused on environmental justice and action on behalf of the disenfranchised.  Visitors to the table expressed thanks and gratification for the work of our two organizations.

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The event was timed to show support and put pressure on participants of the Global Climate Action Summit, but ended up at an awkward time because it came right after Labor Day at a season when many people are making adjustments and preparing for school. The time was particularly hard on Jewish participants, coming just one day before the start of Rosh HaShanah. Nevertheless, a large number of JCAN members got to the rally, some of whom are shown with other friends and supporters in the accompanying photos.

Andy Oram

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