Letter: Climate activists deserve accolades

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Editor of the Reformer,

Regarding the Youth Climate Justice Activists at Strolling Parade:

Before getting into the behavior of some Brattleboro adults, the students who protested at Saturday's Strolling of the Heifers parade deserve our attention and our accolades. They join the ranks of those before them who used civil disobedience as a tactic to fight injustice. Acts of civil disobedience helped African-Americans gain basic human rights; it helped people with disabilities gain access to resources and services which had been denied them; it made a significant impact on the movement for women's suffrage, and it worked to galvanize the labor movement against the depredations (child labor, horrendous work conditions, no minimum wage, etc.) of capital.

With all of this laudable history behind the student protesters one would think that the adults in the room would be fully behind this action, especially in terms of what the earth and its plant and animal species face in climate change. Yet, much of the "adult" social media response to the Strolling protest was highly negative. It ranged from comments like, "no reason to hold up a fun community parade" to "hose them down" and "run them over." These young activists caught flak from liberals and conservatives alike. This kind of reaction is deeply troubling and borders on the dystopic. Perhaps it's appropriate that the youth have to be the adults in the room and are the ones we must count on to give us some hope for a better world.

Henry Zacchini

Brattleboro, June 9

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