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A group of college students from the Metroplex led a climate change protest Saturday at Trinity Park, challenging political figures who took money from fossil fuel executives and calling for immediate legislative changes. 

“Climate change is the biggest threat we face,” said Alyssa Hutchinson, the student who organized the protest. “We must face it together fully with our minds, bodies and spirits.”

Protesters marched around 7th Street, one of the most well-known areas in Fort Worth, Saturday. (Photo by JD Pells)

Hutchinson, a biology student at Texas Wesleyan University (TWU), was one of many students protesting at the event.

Several TWU students and faculty ran and spoke at the climate protest, but students from other Texas colleges were also in attendance.

“This was specifically supposed to be targeting the youth,” Hutchinson said.

Even so, there was representation from all ages.

After reaching the end of the march, participants were met by the Climate Change Flash Mob, the name of an interpretive dance performed and choreographed by DW Jones Dance.

DW Jones Dance seeks to give audiences new ways to experience choreography, often through activism, according to their website.

A dancer tangles herself in plastic bags during the Climate Change Flash Mob. (Photo by JD Pells)

A speaker from Sunrise Movement who is also a senior at the University of Texas at Dallas took the stage after DW Jones Dance, talking legislative progress on the national level.

Sunrise Movement is an “army of young people” who contest corrupt fossil fuel executives in politics and protest to bring climate change to the political forefront across America, according to the strike’s program.

“We are here to prove that ordinary people can shift the power back to where it belongs and protect the people and places that we love,” Brandy Smallwood, another Sunrise Movement speaker, said.

Tim Dandy, who graduated from TWU in 1975, was one of the musicians at the protest. He has been an environmental protection specialist with Federal Agencies since 1985. (Photo by JD Pells)

In 2019, the group visited with congress members in Washington D.C., which led to Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02) signing on the Green New Deal, according to the group’s website.

At the event, the Sunrise Movement supplied letters encouraging people to write to Congress concerning the Green New Deal and the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which was introduced to the House of Representatives in Jan. 2019.

“[The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act] imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” according to congress.gov.

The Green New Deal is a 10-year plan to move to 100% clean and renewable energy and to create millions of jobs. The result, however, would cut down on those jobs involving considerable carbon emissions.

Brandy Smallwood, the outreach coordinator at Sunrise Movement Dallas, spoke at the protest, pointing out the benefits of the Green New Deal. (Photo by JD Pells)

Despite heavy criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, the Sunrise Movement is hopeful the bills are economically feasible.

“These people have been very resistant because we have been talking about ending their livelihood,” Smallwood said about workers who oppose the Green New Deal. “We need to change the conversation.”

The resolution for the Green New Deal is in its first stage of the legislative process, according to govtrack.us. Both bills will be up for contention this year.

Global Climate Strike-Fort Worth organizes strikes every Friday, and has an upcoming event on Earth Day called “EarthFest.”

For more information, visit the Global Climate Strike-Fort Worth Facebook page or email them at globalclimatestrikefw@gmail.com.