There was rain and a thunderstorm Saturday April 29th during the People’s Climate Movement KC march and rally but that didn’t stop about 200 people from marching anyway. The KC march and rally were one of several that coincided with a national rally in Washington, D.C. The sister events were created to happen on President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office. The Kansas City rally featured local speakers on health, social justice, sustainable agriculture, sustainable design, indigenous rights, labor, and faith, as well as singers and performers. The goal of the rally was to demonstrate how people in the Heartland are committed to promoting a vision of a clean, safe world where the rights of all people are protected and expanded.
While the Kansas City marchers sloshed up and down Nichols Road to the Unity Temple to partake in the rally, the event organizers were feverishly preparing for the indoor event which turned out to be the perfect venue since it rained all day. Washington Square park, where previous KC rallies were held, was originally the destination for the rally but organizers had to make the call late Wednesday to move it to Unity Temple when the forecast looked bleak.
The hearty marchers were led by John Fish Kumann who organized the outdoor march after the rally was moved indoors. Before the march, John urged the group to be respectful of plaza shoppers and urged them to “… impress people with our resolve, passion and positivity so they will be more inclined to get involved with our movement after seeing us, not less.
Gail Shafton, vice chair of the Kanza Sierra Club and lead organizer for the rally said “For too long in the Midwest there has been a misperception that those of us who care about climate change and the environment are in the minority. By bringing together people from all walks of life to talk about the intersection between climate and faith, farming, jobs, health and social justice, we hope to make our majority be seen and heard while sharing what climate change means for all of us.”
Speakers for the rally included Bob Berkebile, an internationally renowned architect who was instrumental in the formation of the U.S. Green Building Council and its LEED rating system; Paul Johnson, a long-time farmer and sustainable agriculture activist in Kansas; Margaret May, the executive director of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council; Sergio Moreno, an interfaith chaplain in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Saint Luke’s Hospital; John Reyna, an activist with Stand By Standing Rock and a member of the Lakota/Sioux Tribe; Carissa Stanton, M.D., a pediatrician with the University of Kansas Health System and a children’s health advocate; and Davis Hammet, president of Loud Light and co-founder of the Equality House in Topeka, Kansas. The rally was hosted by Manny Abarca, a sustainability advocate and the community affairs liaison for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.
The rally opened with music performed by married duo, Rachel and Matt Wilson and included a poem by Mary Silwance and concluded with a performance by dancers from the Haskell Indian Nations University.
One of the highlights of the rally were six foot banners created by local artists that hung from the balcony featuring thematic images highlighting the rally’s focus – climate, justice and jobs.
If you would like to watch the entire rally and spearkers you can access the videos here on Peoples Climate March KC Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ladydemonte/videos/pcb.10209864129382468/10209863696611649/?type=3&theater
The event was sponsored by the Kansas Sierra Club, with support from 350 KC, Bridging the Gap, Kansas City Climate Coalition and the Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition.