On Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27, UPROSE hosted its third NYC Climate Justice Youth Summit: Frontline Resistance. The summit was the first citywide gathering of young people from New York City’s environmental justice communities after Super Storm Sandy.
The event was an opportunity for youth leaders to come together to discuss ways for both individuals and communities to take control over the changes to come.
“This youth summit is a place for people to gain resources they can’t get anywhere else. It’s about ideas. It’s about discovery. It’s about frontline resistance, and how to directly fight climate change,” said Jonathan Ferrer, 17, of UPROSE.
The summit offered do-it-yourself workshops, speakers and open forums. There were also learning circles addressing topics such as transportation justice, climate justice and housing, waste and environmental justice.
“It’s important to leave being aware of how much the environment really matters, and to know how you can change the world,” said Rose Martinez, 21.
“We hope to bridge the communities of color who are feeling the brunt of climate change,” said Cynthia Moices, an event coordinator at the summit. Moices also noted that oftentimes, communities containing minorities are often most affected by environmental destruction.
“This year’s summit is different from the last because young people will leave this year with a call to action that was derived from the summit and will be implemented in their communities—this year, young people will exercise leadership and demand change,” Moices added.
“Everything in intertwined, and it is happening now,” said Giovanna Chaves, a member of the frontline panel.
UPROSE Chair Elizabeth Yeampierre challenged the crowd with questions such as “Is climate change real? Is there something we can do about it?” and was answered with a tumultuous “yes!” from sizable crowd, containing youth from all five boroughs.
“I want people to understand climate change. I want them to walk out knowing they can do something—be the catalyst of great change in the city,” said Ferrer. “I came in to UPROSE having no care for the environment, and now I have a passion,” he added.
The hugely successful event was made possible through the support of Industry City, the New York Power Authority, the Hill Snowden Foundation, the John and Wendy Neu Family Foundation, Con Edison, Fairway Market, The North Star Fund and Sims Metal Recycling Facility.