Standing with #youthvgov in Albuquerque

 The October 29 rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico to support the  Juliana v United States  plaintiffs on what should have been the first day of their trial.

The October 29 rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico to support the Juliana v United States plaintiffs on what should have been the first day of their trial.

This reflection is written by Omar, a young New Mexican who participated the October 29 rally in Albuquerque.

When I recall the most memorable days of my life, October 29, 2018 will be the first that comes to mind. I was gathered with a group of 50 like-minded people on a gorgeous fall afternoon in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We were one of about 100 groups clustered in major cities around the world to conduct rallies in support of the 21 youth plaintiffs of Juliana V. United States.

On my way into Albuquerque, I found myself transfixed by the brilliant New Mexico sunlight bathing the beautiful landscape surrounding the highway; this experience was one of my many daily interactions with the beloved natural world, but on that day its significance seemed directly tied to my destination. Once I arrived, I took a place at the corner of a major intersection, grateful to be standing alongside those working to preserve the precious planet we all share.

Tom Solomon from 350.org, an international group fighting for a safe climate, initiated the rally. Grown-ups expressed their concerns for future generations and urged people to support the plaintiffs by spreading the word. Some delivered speeches and read quotes from the Juliana plaintiffs. Children stood at the podium and used their powerful voices to articulate their feelings.

 Omar with the microphone as he makes his statement at the October 29 rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Omar with the microphone as he makes his statement at the October 29 rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Everyone who drove by stared at the young and old standing tall and proud with signs held high. Drivers honked in approval of our cause, and folks hastened over to listen intently as the kids spoke.

Not long after the rally began, I took hold of the microphone and read my speech. As my gaze shifted between the audience and my words on the page, my perception shifted. I felt as though time had stopped and all extraneous activities had ceased as I and those around me took complete control of the stage. The energy between us was profound; I felt a powerful force that I could not yet wrap my mind around. I now recognize that what I felt was an overwhelming confidence that the Juliana case must go on. I am not surprised, given the determination of the plaintiffs and the fact that so many of us around the nation, and around the world, stood with them.

The rally represented a day of great joy, and surely one of countless days in which major changes will occur for the betterment of humanity. I believe that a momentum has begun that is unstoppable, and I feel so thankful to be a part of it.

Caitlin Howard