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Keepers of Faith: Reflections from the People's Climate March

People of faith from Illinois showed their commitment to care for the Earth at the People’s Climate March in Washington D.C. on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

Faithful Citizens show off their signs before the People's Climate March
Faithful Citizens show off their signs before the march

Traveling through the streets of Washington DC with the crowd of over 200,000 participants in sweltering heat was a poignant reminder that climate change affects the health of our communities, and that action is urgently needed.

Together with our neighbors from many different faith traditions and other state affiliates of Interfaith Power & Light, we celebrated our diversity and our shared commitment to be “Keepers of Faith” – bringing a moral lens and a vision of hope for our common home on Earth.

We joined students, parents, labor activists, scientists, Indigenous Communities, environmental groups, and community organizations in this historic mobilization for jobs, justice, and climate action.

Ginnie Judd participates in a Chicago Climate March.
Ginnie Judd participates in a Chicago Climate March.

Local marches in Chicago, Champaign/Urbana, and other cities gave people the opportunity to act in solidarity and connect with one another.

We are celebrating the efforts of all who were involved in this public witness of care for our Earth!

Moving forward, we will draw on the strength of this moment to keep building the movement for a healthier world for the entire Earth community. We can all take action as individuals, in our faith communities, and as faithful citizens of our local and federal governments for the future we want to see.

Read a quote in an article in The Nation from Pat Harper who attended the march with us!


What inspired people to make the 700 mile journey for the climate march? How do people’s faiths motivate them to take action on environmental issues? People who traveled on the bus with us to Washington, DC share their thoughts:

“It was incredibly encouraging to see so many people dedicated to combating climate change for so many overlapping reasons including -- justice, jobs, health, concern for future generations, and the intrinsic value of the environment, all of which may be rooted in religious beliefs. I was impressed by the ways that people on the march consistently cared for each other -- offering snacks, water, a helping hand with a heavy sign, or an encouraging word. These are some of the many characteristics that we draw forward as we move forward.” -Sarah Fredericks

Faithful Citizens came out in force at the People's Climate March.
Faithful Citizens came out in force at the March.

“I feel very fortunate to have participated in the People’s Climate Movement March. I thank Faith in Place for offering the bus and opportunity to meet with others interested in environmental action, sustainability, and climate justice to protect our one and only earth.” -Abigail Kaberon

“This was a very encouraging trip. While climate change was the purpose of our trip and to march in solidarity, the people made it come alive. From the beginning of sharing a ride with others with the same interests, to standing under the hot sun meeting individuals from all over the country, talking with theologians, bio-scientists, and environmentalists, everyone was smiling, open, and willing to take on the cause of saving our earth.” -Pat Harper

“I felt empowered meeting all of the amazing spiritual activists for climate justice from across the country. The diversity of race, religion, and geography in the Keepers of the Faith section of the climate march inspired me.” -Rev. Brian Sauder

Rev. Brian Sauder, Tony Williamson & Veronica Kyle at the People's Climate March
Rev. Brian Sauder, Tony Williamson & Veronica Kyle

“It was a wonderful experience to meet the people from your ministry and share the opportunity to march with the thousands of brothers and sisters to speak our voice and stand up for Mother Earth. We are all stewards of the Earth. It was a testament to our faith that we are all one and one with our Mother Earth.” -Angela Gioe

“Praising God in standing with over 200,000 people at the People’s Climate March in Washington DC. It was awesome!! People from all walks of life. Different sizes and shapes, colors and creeds journeyed together, blessing each other.” -Pastor Booker Vance

“One of the most meaningful things about riding on the bus was connecting with people from different faith communities, different cities, and even different states who all care about the Earth community. As a Lutheran, it was powerful to express my care for neighbor and Creation by marching. I was inspired to see many people in the “Keepers of the Faith” section of the march, but also people there for so many interconnected reasons like economic justice, indigenous rights, and public health.” -Callie Mabry

The People's Climate March was multifaith!
The People's Climate March was multifaith!

“Yesterday was a wonderful experience. It makes everything seem possible, talking to so many people from different parts of the USA with the same ideas, feeling the need to do something to make it happen, making our earth a healthier place to live for all species, learning together how to make it happen. The march was heartfelt and I will continue to live my life and show others how to live life with the knowledge of preserving our earth.” -Leloni Greenwood

“At the march, I was inspired by the huge faith contingent and especially the young people marching with such positive intent. Their signs read ‘Protect what you love,’ ‘Love your neighbor – act on climate,’ ‘Imagine a world free of climate change,’ ‘Choose 100% clean energy,’ ‘The oceans are rising and so are we,’ ‘Build a Green Future,’ ‘Activism is the rent I pay to live on this planet,’ ‘I speak for the bees,’ ‘Care more, consume less,’ ‘Protect our common home.’ YES! Together, we will build a new culture where caring for each other and the earth is the norm.” -Sarah Paulos

People's Climate Marchers on Pennsylvania Ave.
People's Climate Marchers on Pennsylvania Ave.

“I am very concerned about the environment and felt that there was nothing I could do. This trip provided me with a voice and was able to fellowship with people who feel the same way I do. The trip was very empowering!” -Carolyn Williamson

“It was a great opportunity to show concern about the environment and fellowship with other people of faith who share the same concerns. The rally seemed very productive and relaxing.” -Anthony Williamson

“Since the election I have been at times depressed over the direction the government has taken in relation to many issues, but particularly the environment. God’s creation is so beautiful and essential to our existence. The march helped energize my commitment to the cause. I met wonderful people of many faiths and causes. My hope for the future grew stronger as a result of the march. Being part of a faith group was a perfect fit for me.”

“I was so inspired to do this because I love our country, want to save the environment, and wanted to be with so many other likeminded souls and the big march in DC, rather than a sister march. It was inspiring to get the thumbs up from so many in the march for my “Fight Truth Decay” sign – I felt like I had celebrity status, with my sign resonating with us all there for the same reason. We are dedicated enough, we will change the world.” -Camilla Bowman

“On the bus I enjoyed meeting many of our Faith in Place people from other towns. The People’s Climate March was an exceptional experience for me. Being with all representatives of our people to protect the earth and promote peace motivates me to keep working on our goals and fills me with great hope. I especially remember during the Washington Memorial event our Dakota friends expressing their gratitude for the support received from the American people during the Dakota Pipeline Struggle. Also networking with many faiths and those earth keepers secular was important.”

-Eleanor Evans

Velma Pate and a friend show off their signs at the People's Climate March.
Velma Pate and a friend show off their signs.

“What a beautiful and awesome sight. I experienced such great conversation with people I don’t know but God loves. As the march began to take off my prayer was ‘If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, turn from their wicked ways, seek my face, then I will healed the Lord.’ The march was powerful, it was very much needed. It moved people from their comfort zone. Although the weather got most of us a little weary, we kept going. My highlight was the different signs.” -Velma Pate

“As an Outreach Director who works hard to educate, connect, and advocate for the realities of climate change and its effects on communities, the experience of the Peoples Climate March was awesome and affirmative of our mission at Faith in Place. Faithful people from all walks of live ‘showed up and showed out.’ We made it unmistakably clear that we care about the environment and we demand policies that to support it.” -Veronica Kyle

“April 29, 2017 marked a milestone for me: a carbon footprint made in respect of Mother Earth. To dispel the lies and misinformation of climate change deniers. Wish that there could be a way to have ‘them’ suffer the effects of climate change without the masses suffering with them.”

-Clyde Wilson

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