‘It was empowering’: teen BLM activists on learning the ropes at school climate strikes

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For 14-year-old Eleanor Woolstencroft, it was last year’s school climate strikes that empowered her to throw herself into the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in recent weeks. “[Without the climate strikes], I would have been a lot less confident, I wouldn’t have known how protests worked,” she said, adding that the strikes helped open her eyes to societal inequality. “There have been so many speakers at the climate strikes talking about racial injustice and how the climate emergency is going to affect immigrants and people in refugee camps first.” Woolstencroft is one of many BLM protesters who said they were first introduced to activism through environmental movements like the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests and school climate strikes, which swelled to enormous size in 2019. Natanya Popoola, 17, from London, said the first protests she went to were the climate strikes, which she described as “exhilarating” because it “was being led by someone young for the first time”. She added: “The fact that we were striking school was empowering, because it was in your hands rather than asking your parents to go on a Saturday. It redefined the idea of what a protest meant. It really made me feel: I […]

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