WATSONVILLE — At 9:46 a.m. on May 24, a bell sounded at Watsonville High School and students flooded out of their classrooms. But instead of grabbing a snack or hanging out in the quad, many of them headed to line up on East Beach Street with protest signs in hand.
The walkout, which is part of the international movement known as Fridays For Future, was held to protest the inaction of the government on the global climate crisis.
“It’s really important for us to stand up and demand action,” said sophomore Verania Vizcarra, the organizer of the walkout. “Right now, the older generation is not doing much. We can’t expect they will. We have to do it ourselves—it’s our future that depends on it.”
Fridays For Future is a student-led movement that began in August 2018 following the actions of 15 year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who sat in front of Swedish parliament for three weeks in protest of climate change inaction. The hashtags of #FridaysForFuture and #Climatestrike spread on social media. Protests continue to be held every Friday across the globe.
On Friday Watsonville High students held homemade signs with slogans such as “There is no Planet B,” “Don’t deny Climate Change,” and “Plastic is worse than homework!”
One student named Alex was watching from the sidelines. He said he was really proud of his classmates.
“I’m not one for marching, but it’s really cool what they’re doing,” he said. “I’m going to take a video and post it online. It deserves attention.”
A handful of students took turns leading chants.
“What do we want?” one leader yelled into a microphone.
“Change!” the crowd responded.
“When do we want it?”
The students were often specific, at one point bringing up the nation’s continuing dependency of fossil fuels.
Vizcarra was in the center of the action for the entire walk out, urging more people to join in. Teachers and administrators were supportive of the students, some even holding up their own signs.
“We want people to understand, we don’t expect this walk out to immediately change things,” Vizcarra said. “It’s more about bringing awareness and educating others. We just want our voices to be heard.”
To learn more about the Fridays For Future movement visit fridaysforfuture.org.