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Brad Dye Mothers Out Front March Fossil Fuels NYC 4
Special Event

Three Generations March to End Fossil Fuels

Brad Dye Mothers Out Front March Fossil Fuels NYC 4Three generations of our family – our toddler, his parents, and his Grandma – began their climate march three weeks ago on a walk to the playground. As my 3-year-old, Parker, and I passed by a local artist studio, he asked me, “Why is that man painting?”

“That man makes art for a living. He makes sculptures like these in the yard, he paints pictures, and he also makes signs for businesses. Don’t you think that sounds like a fun job, to paint art all day for other people? Would you like to do that when you grow up?”

“No. I want to work with Mommy, and make the world more fair.” (I work for a social enterprise serving system-involved youth.)

Parker and our family talk a lot about how good people can make bad decisions – that we all make bad decisions sometimes – and that people need to work together to ensure that we make the world more fair. This walk to the playground was the first time that he said that he wants to make it his job to make the world more fair.

So we knew it would be important to show Parker some of the ways that even a tiny toddler can promote environmental justice.

Brad Dye Mothers Out Front March Fossil Fuels NYC 1As a member of the Massachusetts Mothers Out Front Communications team, I help people express their ideas about our climate to others. For example, I help people prepare for public speaking opportunities and provide testimony to government officials. 

So I explained to Parker that the President wants to do good things for our planet, but that he also makes a lot of decisions that we think are bad decisions for the Earth and for people in need. We told him that big groups of people who care about our climate were preparing to march in America’s biggest city, and asked him if he would like to march together with all of us.

“I don’t think this President will listen to me, because he makes big decisions for everybody and I am so little.”

Mothers Out Front is a group of mothers and other caregivers who build our power by coming together to promote a healthy future for all children. We believe that there is no more powerful force than women mobilizing to protect their children. When we come together for climate, racial and social justice to tell our stories and share our dreams for our children, we cannot fail. And so we made our trip to New York City to march to end fossil fuels, to show Parker that each of us may be small, but that our voices together are powerful. 

Brad Dye Mothers Out Front March Fossil Fuels NYC 5If you’ve ever been the parent of a toddler, you know travel is an exhausting whirlwind of planning, chasing, squirming and crying. The Saturday Amtrak from Boston to Penn Station was a long four hours, in turns both exciting and infuriating. But we were so uplifted to see check ins on WhatsApp from hundreds of other Mothers Out Front marchers, making their own personal, family and group journeys to New York City by carpool, train, and bus. We even had our own picture to share, a personal parenting victory of getting our kid to nap on the train.

On Sunday morning, we were ready to march: one toddler, one Mommy, one Daddy, and one Grandma. We gathered with hundreds of other Mothers Out Front members at a central meeting point. After all the planning and work our organizers put into the day, it was so much fun to come together as a group. I got to meet in person so many people that I’ve only ever met over Zoom or e-mail. I also had some wonderful reunions with chapter and work group members, including running into someone from my own local chapter who I hadn’t seen since the spring!

As we headed out into the 80-degree day to meet 50,000 of our closest friends and allies, we felt proud to be part of this moment, and inspired by all the other marchers. The long wait at the march lineup and the hot Sun reminded us of the urgency of action now. It also gave us more time to circulate and reconnect or make new connections, and as we stepped off on the march, we remembered that by working together with urgency and hope as partners, we can achieve solid solutions for our climate.

The march was incredible. My little toddler got to experience the power of music, movement, and plenty of art – all of it coming together to bring one united message to make our world fairer, cleaner, and more sustainable. 

By the end – and yes, amazingly, his little legs carried him the whole march route – we were exhausted and energized. As small as each individual is, our collective action demonstrated what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described as “an electoral and popular force that cannot be ignored.”