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