School to the city library during climate change strike, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, in West Lafayette. About 300 students and community members marched from West Students walk from West Lafayette Jr./Sr. High School to the West Lafayette library and then to Happy Hollow School calling for climate change action. Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier
School to the city library during climate change strike, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, in West Lafayette. About 300 students and community members marched from West Students walk from West Lafayette Jr./Sr. High School to the West Lafayette library and then to Happy Hollow School calling for climate change action. Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier
WEST LAFAYETTE – After walking out of West Lafayette High School two hours before the last bell and leading a two-mile trek from the school’s track to the West Lafayette Public Library and then to the former Happy Hollow Elementary – picking up more than 300 people along the way – Annabel Prokopy was first on the microphone Friday at a climate strike West Side students organized.

“We are striking to demand change,” Prokopy, a West Lafayette sophomore and an organizer of West Lafayette Climate Strike Students, a group formed in May and inspired by the Friday for Future school strikes initially organized by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg.

“Specifically, we are demanding that our Hoosier politicians, especially local, identify the climate crisis as a threat that must be addressed immediately,” Prokopy said. “As a politician, remaining silent on this existential crisis is unacceptable, and we will not let them continue taking the easy way out by putting our futures at risk.”

A couple of speakers behind her in the parking lot of the school – now used as a temporary city hall – was West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis.

Dennis was a line or two into a speech about the seemingly modest contributions of the “Pitch In” generation when he came of age compared to the goals of those sitting in the parking lot – many carrying signs that had variations on a theme: Reverse global warming – when a voice came from the back of the crowd.

“What are you doing?”

“I’ll get to that in a minute,” Dennis said.
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