Thousands of people converged on St. Louis for Ferguson October, four days of marches, rallies, sit-ins and prayer meetings protesting the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. The events drew support from multiple movements, with representatives of Occupy, labor unions, gay rights groups and Palestine in attendance. A climate contingent led by 350.org and Energy Action Coalition was also part of the crowd, quietly swelling the ranks.
At least two dozen climate activists traveled to St. Louis from as far away as Minnesota, West Virginia and New York. A few individual climate activists reached out to local organizers to ask what needed to be done. Arielle Klagsbrun of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) suggested they organize a climate contingent, similar to the Palestinian contingent that was planning to come. Yong Jung Cho, a Fossil Free organizer with 350.org, and others pulled one together in only a week’s time.
Just a few weeks after the People’s Climate March drew an estimated 400,000 people (some with “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” signs) to the streets of New York to demand global action against climate change, Ferguson October was an opportunity for People’s Climate leaders to reciprocate the cross-movement support. On the Wednesday preceding Ferguson October they posted on their Facebook page: “As part of a movement of movements, we support those organising for racial justice in Missouri this weekend!”