Southern Oregon youth expected to join Friday walkout for climate action

Events are planned in nearly every town between Grants Pass and Ashland, according to local climate activist groups.

Posted: Sep 18, 2019 3:37 PM
Updated: Sep 18, 2019 3:57 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Local high school students are likely to walk out of their classrooms on Friday in support of an international movement to fight climate change, with Rogue Valley activist groups planning several events.

The walkout represents a grassroots effort that has rallied around young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who is currently in the U.S. speaking in support of climate action. The Swedish group Youth for Climate calls the September 20 rally a "Global Strike for Climate." Though the movement has other names, the date has caught on with youth in towns and cities across the world.

The movement precedes a United Nations "Climate Action Summit" set for September 23 in New York, where world leaders have been invited to meet and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Local student activists have planned walkouts and rallies in Medford, Ashland, and Phoenix. There are also events planned for the evening in Grants Pass and Talent.

Ashland High School issued a response to news of the planned walkout on Wednesday morning:

"While Ashland School District supports students’ Constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and free expression, we cannot support an activity that represents a loss in instructional time," school officials said. "If students make the choice to walk out of school on Friday, we will not physically stop them. We will take attendance again school-wide after students walk out, mark those who have left as Absent - unexcused, and send absence notifications through our automated phone/text messaging service."

The following are walkouts and/or rallies planned in Southern Oregon on Friday, according to Rogue Climate and Josephine Climate Alliance:

Medford: Climate Walkout

  • WHEN: Friday, September 20, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Vogel Plaza (15 S Central Ave, Medford)
  • WHAT: Join students walking out from High Schools across Medford at a youth-led rally at Vogel Plaza where they will demand Gov. Kate Brown take action on climate and support an Oregon Green New Deal. Students will march from school to Vogel Plaza for a rally starting around 11:30 a.m.

Ashland: Climate Walkout

  • WHEN: Friday, September 20, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Downtown Plaza (Intersection of North and East Main Street, Ashland)
  • WHAT: Join youth from the Ashland School District for a walkout alongside the thousands of walkouts across the world. Students will meet outside of Ashland High School at 10:30 a.m. and march to the plaza together. Adults who want to support the youth should gather at the Plaza at 10:30 a.m. to welcome the youth.

Phoenix: Climate Walkout

  • WHEN: Friday, September 20, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Phoenix City Hall (112 West 2nd Street, Phoenix)
  • WHAT: Join students walking out from schools across Talent & Phoenix at a youth-led rally at Phoenix City Hall where they will demand Gov. Kate Brown take action on climate and support an Oregon Green New Deal.

Grants Pass: Global Climate Strike

  • WHEN: Friday, September 20, 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Josephine County Courthouse (500 NW 6th St, Grants Pass)
  • WHAT: On September 20th, people across Josephine County are taking part in the global climate strike at 430 p.m. in front of the Josephine County Courthouse. People are coming together to demand that our elected officials at all levels take immediate and decisive action to address the worsening climate crisis.

Unidos: Fiesta for Climate y Comunidad

  • WHEN: Friday, September 20, 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Pear Blossom Park (312 E. 4th St., Medford)
  • WHAT: On Friday, September 20, communities throughout Oregon and across the world are joining forces in huge numbers to tell our leaders to take immediate action on climate change. “Unidos: Fiesta for Climate y Communidad” is in solidarity with the thousands of youth and adults who will strike all across the world to demand transformative action to address the climate crisis. There will be music, baile, speakers, food, and opportunities to take action and learn more about the movement for climate justice in Southern Oregon. Bring your friends and family!

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