Thank you to everyone who helped make our #FridaysForFuture Parade and Rally happen!

On Friday September 20th over 100 students walked out from St. Michael’s Secondary, Stratford Secondary and Elementary Schools, and Nancy Campbell Academy. They marched along city streets to Market Square where over 200 people attended for a rally and eco info fair with local community groups and projects.

The march, rally, and info fair were part of global events happening that day which saw about 4 million people participate worldwide to call for bold, urgent climate action in response to the threat of global warming.

Students marching over the William Hutt Bridge, September 20th

Photo credit: Fred Gonder; See his album of 77 photos from the day

Several student organizers shaped the vision for the day, including Rachael Stephan, Emily Adam, Serena Müller, Sammie Orr, and Aimée Paradis. Rachael, Emily, and Serena were also the youth speakers at the rally, along with Amber McNeil. Thank you to all of them for their leadership.

Other speakers were Tahira Naylor, who talked about the importance of local and international climate action, and Danyka Dunseith, a Perth County hemp farmer who shared her example of sustainable agriculture.


Amber McNeil speaking at Market Square

Maia Fredericksen from Nancy Campbell Academy

Serena Müller speaking at Market Square

In addition to speakers, musicians graced the rally stage: Pamela Gerrand and the students of Nancy Campbell Academy who performed Pamela’s “Enough Already” eco-anthem, Maia Fredericksen and her drum, fiddler Kiki Dubé, and a pep band of students from Stratford Secondary and Elementary Schools.

Thank you to Avondale United Church, The Space Within and revel who provided meeting space for our planning meetings and to Laura Connelly and The Parlour Inn where we host the monthly Climate Momentum Mixers.

A shout out to the York Lane Art Collective for their fabulous paint nights! So many inspiring signs were made for the march and local artist and art teacher Jenn Mezei created a .giant placard on the theme of rewilding.

Pamela Gerrand with a choir from Nancy Campbell Academy

Pep Band students from SSES

The eco info fair in Market Square continued all afternoon with participation from:

Upper Thames Regional Conversation Authority, Rotary Club of Stratford & COMMIT, The Local Community Food Centre, St. Michael Secondary School Social Justice Equity Club, Stratford Field Naturalists, Bee City Stratford, Amnesty International Stratford, Stratford Trashion Week, Mindfulness for the Apocalypse, Tiny Seeds Nature School, Energy & Environment Committee of the City of Stratford, Bluewater Recycling Association, Cycle Stratford, and the Canadian Federation of University Women Stratford, as well as a local petition for Stratford to declare a climate emergency.

Petition signers at the Climate Emergency info table

Letter-writers at the Amnesty International info table

There are a lot of people to thank for such a big event, in addition to the student marchers, speakers, and musicians mentioned above.

Thank you to the great group of volunteers who: organized the parade (Christa Mabee, Jessika Guy and their team); planned the art pieces (Terran Shaver and Jenn Mezei); and joined in as volunteer parade marshalls (coordinated by Barb Cottle).  And thank you to Emma Rockwho baked, and baked, and baked to have cookies to hand out to student marchers!

Kudos to Pamela Coneybeare who, with Geoff Love, gathered the presenters for our info fair, and thank you to all the groups that participated with their booths and displays.

Sharon Collingwood coordinated the stage program with Emily Adam, Serena Müller, and Rachael Stephan. And a big thanks to Stephen Degenstein who made sure we could all see and hear, by supplying the sound system and stage.

Thanks also to Christa Mabee who emceed the whole event like a pro.

And thanks to everyone who promoted, participated, and supported in any way. We are building community around our concern for climate change. Let’s continue the momentum!