Words and Ideas to Change the World

Lisa Jaycox


On Friday, May 24, students around the world once again walked out of school, demanding climate action. This Climate Strike is the second strike of its kind in 2019. The first one in March was led by 1.5 million young people. Some of those young people are Trinity parishioners, like Azalea Danes, an 11th grader at Bronx Science High School and a member of the Trinity Church Youth Group.

Azalea Danes at a previous Climate Strike in March 2019

“By climate-striking, I show that my respect for the leaders of our world is gone due to their inaction and irresponsibility regarding climate change,” she says. “It stirs up attention and conveys our fury and demand for climate action for a just and environmentally friendly future.” Danes is helping plan the NYC strikes and advocates for climate justice action and awareness through her work with fellow community organizers, the media, government representatives, and the general public.

Student Climate Strike at NYC City Hall on May 24, 2019

It is inspiring to see these active, passionate voices raised in support of the common good. Through our work with local youth, Trinity supports their activism by providing programing, and we also look to these young leaders to point the way toward a better world; we listen, and then we amplify their voices. The trusted relationships we build allow for truth-telling. Together, we celebrate and respond to a moral call to serve and create a better world.

Earlier this year, Trinity also traveled to Albany with Leadership High School students and the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) to support educational reform as a part of our racial justice strategic initiative. The students’ striking reflections following this “Schools Not Jails” trip showed how valuable this real-world experience can be for building strong community partnerships and representative government.

Angie Cordovez-Arias (Photo credit: Angie Cordovez-Arias)

“I went to Albany to lobby for my rights as a student, female, and Latino,” said Angie Cordovez-Arias. We came as a flock who did not know one another—a group from Leadership, a group from CUNY, and a group of parents from Park Slope—but we shared values and supported one another as New York residents. We need people who will use their position and power to take a higher stand. If life is challenging you, challenge it back.”

Fatima Bah (Photo Credit: Nyasia Pettway)

“I have been involved in protests and marches throughout high school but I never thought about lobbying for the issues I feel passionately about like education, climate change, gun laws, mass incarceration, and police brutality,” said Fatima Bah. “I had this us vs. them mentality and I was pessimistic about formal political process outside of protesting. Would officials really listen?”

Lesly Tacoaman

Lesly Tacoaman added, “We talked to Yuh-Line Niou who represents District 2. I am glad the students from Leadership could talk to her in private and speak out on what resources we are missing in our school. There were students who prepared a list of resources we were missing – such as no gym, limited restrooms, the loss of our business program. She listened carefully and even shared her own journey to becoming a politician and how having a good education is fundamental to creating our own future.”

Through storytelling and direct action in the form of protests and lobbying, these students teach us about their worldview and ideas for a better world. Want to learn more? Join us on June 1 for Keep It Reel: Teens Facing Race Through Film at St. Paul’s Chapel, featuring films from students at Leadership & Public Service High School, The Door, The James Baldwin School, and Trinity Youth. RSVP here.