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Student Marches in NYC for Climate Awareness

Student Marches in NYC for Climate Awareness

By Jonathan Bym, EditorPhoto by Jonathan Bym

Nearly 400,000 people marched through the streets of New York City on Sept. 21 to raise awareness on climate issues before the United Nations were to meet on Sept. 23 for the Climate Summit. Of those 400,000, one UNCP student brought her unique perspective to the march.

Layla Locklear, a senior environmental science major, was a part of the march and was part of the group that led the entire march through the streets.

“I never experienced anything like that in my life,” she said. “To know that we were all there gathered for one purpose to take a stand, use our voice and speak on behalf of protecting our indigenous rights.

“To know that the march was the largest one of its kind in history makes me feel humbled and honored to know I was a part of the event,” she said.

Locklear went with a Native American performing group Ulali, who was one of many indigenous groups that participated in the march.

The large number of indigenous people from all over the world led the march in what was called the “indigenous block.” After the march, all the representatives did a round dance in the streets

“We, as an indigenous people, have a responsibility and by us being there at the climate march our presence was shown to the world that it is upon us to take action to find solutions to the problems of the climate,” Locklear said.

Indigenous people were not the only ones taking part in the march. There were also famous actors and other large groups of people.

Ulali, a group that has four women who represent the Lumbee, Tuscarora and the Oglala Sioux tribe, performed before the march in Central Park along with other groups as part of the indigenous gathering. The women performed by singing and drumming. 

For Locklear, this was a very important event with her involvement in her Native heritage as well as with her degree choice.

“The march opened my eyes to the fact that climate change isn’t just affecting indigenous people, it affects the world,” she said. “Environmental traditions is something that us Native people have always done…I feel that I can bring a lot to the table as an indigenous person.”

Photo by Jonathan Bym. Layla Locklear took part in the climate march in New York City on Sept. 21.