“Now, on a warm Sunday evening, [Max Prestigiacomo] meets with a handful of other teenagers in a small office off University Avenue, with more students joining the meeting online. The group is part of the newly formed Youth Climate Action Team (YCAT) of Wisconsin. Members are planning a statewide climate strike on Sept. 20, expected to be even bigger than the March 15 protest.”
Max Prestigiacomo, who is organizing a demonstration in Madison, Wisconsin, said there was a real disconnect between what was being taught in the classroom — that climate change poses an existential threat — and how politicians were reacting.
Prestigiacomo said students in Wisconsin planned to march on the state Capitol and hold sit-ins in offices of legislators.
"When our president ... goes on television and says everything we're taught in school is wrong, how do you think that makes students feel?" he said. "All I want is evidence-based politics."
In the United States, activists from around the nation organized climate strikes for the first time. Two to three thousand students ditched classes to march to the beautiful state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, the scene of many mass protests over the last eight years.
Congressman Mark Pocan was a rare adult invited to speak to the strikers. He mentioned working with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal, and her name prompted an enormous response from the crowd. "I'll let her know," he said.
“We want to be heard by our representatives and by the people who represent us to change policies to better help our planet,” said Veronica Cruz, a senior at Memorial High School. “It’s crazy to think about actually changing the planet, but it’s something we have to do because it’s dying.”
With signs and banners in hand, students from Madison and across the state gathered at East High School in the morning to begin a more than 2-mile march down East Washington Avenue for a rally outside the Capitol.