NYC Youth Rally Outside Cuomo’s Office

“People gonna rise like the water
We’re gonna calm this crisis down
I hear the voice of my great granddaughter
Saying climate justice now!”

A shivering group of high schoolers and adults illuminated these words outside Governor Cuomo’s office on Third Avenue in Manhattan on March 16, 2017. Anyone passing by the building between 3-5pm experienced the warmth of the group’s presence in spite of the erratically freezing New York weather that day.

Our focus was sending a clear message to Governor Cuomo: climate change requires immediate action. 

I was one of the ACE Fellows wearing a face mask with the words “Save Our Future” and holding a sign amidst the small crowd. In part because we were too busy vocalizing the chorus and preoccupied with the sudden drop in temperature, the group did not stare back as strangers busily walked past the gathering. Instead, our focus was sending a clear message to Governor Cuomo: climate change requires immediate action. By eliminating ALL climate pollution by 2050, renewing the most vulnerable communities, and ensuring fair green jobs, New York most definitely can orchestrate a better future for all. The Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) addresses these three necessary goals, and by making our presence known outside the Governor’s office, we hoped to exhibit our support for this bill.

In addition to the chorus of voices bringing warmth in the cold weather, there were also heartening smiles from the photo-ops that each participant took part in outside the office. We held posters showing how old we would be when global temperatures rise past 1.5°C degrees, if we don’t take meaningful climate action, and tweeted our messages to Governor Cuomo.


But even though our message was sobering, we were all smiles. After all, we did have 526 signatures present in the petition advocating for our goals that day! For the New York City Fellows, this was one of the first actions we organized on our own, without a partner— and everyone did an amazing job!

Aryaana Khan

Aryaana Khan is a 2016-2018 Action Fellow in New York City. She attends Manhattan Hunter Science High School.