GOSHEN — Emma Blanton knew she couldn’t do it alone. The co-president of the Young Progressives at Goshen High School wanted to spread awareness to the student body about what many believe is an escalating climate crisis, but she also needed her message to be heard by people with differing political viewpoints.
So she found some help.
On Friday morning at the Goshen football field, Blanton and Bryce Ruvo, co-president of the school’s Young Republicans, linked up to educate and mobilize the hundreds of students who walked out of their first-period classes. This movement was part of the "Global Climate Strike" that involved hundreds of thousands of people on Friday, with youth-led marches and protests of government inaction on climate circling the globe.
“I’m not just here as some liberal girl who’s just trying to push her agenda,” Blanton said after her speech. “This should be everyone’s agenda. This is important to every single person here.”
Ruvo, a 17-year-old senior like Blanton, agreed, adding, “This isn’t an issue that you can really side with. This is fact.”
During his impassioned plea, Ruvo emphasized the word “together,” relaying to classmates that there’s nothing divisive about climate. Blanton appealed to both emotion and logic, citing President Donald Trump's encroaching policies, while also stating, “Our house is on fire.”
Said Young Progressives treasurer Treasure Welle to Blanton as students shuffled to second period, “Your speeches were so informative that they couldn’t have left here without learning something new and understanding the urgency of the issue.”
Surely, some attended the strike to skip class, but a majority were engaged in the student-led assembly. When Welle started chanting, “Tell me what democracy looks like,” the collective response slowly grew from a sheepish murmur to a confident call to action: “This is what democracy looks like!”
“Education is about getting our young people to be civically minded responsible adults,” said Goshen Assistant Principal Kyle Roddey, “and I think that a rally like today is the embodiment of that.”