Sidwell Friends Middle Schoolers Joined Millions of Students Around the World—Without Leaving Campus

Thousands of DC-area students and millions more around the world participated in the student-led Global Climate Strike on September 20 to demand action on climate change.

For some of the Sidwell Friends middle schoolers, however, making their voices heard wasn’t as simple as leaving School and heading down to the National Mall. For one thing, they can’t drive; for another, going downtown with anyone other than their own parents posed logistical—and likely legal—difficulties for many of the students

“Originally, we wanted to actually go to the strike, but it was really complicated,” said Gabi ’25, who helped organize an alternate plan. Instead of chatting with friends or catching up on homework during their 30-minute afternoon break, dozens of enthusiastic Sidwell Friends middle schoolers spent their time off in front of Zartman House holding their own call to action. “We’re all out here using our break time, and it was really simple,” Gabi told me. “Anyone could come.” And no need for permission slips!

Their chants—“Honk if you agree! There is no planet B!”—spurred drivers on Wisconsin Avenue to toot their horns. Whether it was a little beep or a long and loud blast, students celebrated every honk with enthusiastic yells. It was very positive and fun, but ultimately the students were on the sidewalk for a serious reason.

“I really want the government to stand up and try to help our environment,” said Mia ’25. “Right now, we’re not doing a lot.”

“Kids have to take a stand because the adults aren’t doing their jobs correctly,” Gabi added. “The adults need to step up their game.”

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