Jane Fonda leads 9th climate change protest in Washington, D.C.

By Silvia Martelli, Medill News Service
Jane Fonda leads 9th climate change protest in Washington, D.C.
Actors Jane Fonda (2nd-R) and Taylor Schilling (2nd-L) participate in a march through Washington, D.C., asking companies to divest from private migrant facilities. Photo by Silvia Martelli/Medill News Service

Dec. 6 (UPI) -- WASHINGTON -- Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda held her ninth consecutive Fire Drill on Friday to protest climate change, marching through the nation's capital to confront financial institutions protesters say are associated with the climate crisis and migrant detention centers.

In her weekly demonstration, Fonda said "the most immediate and horrible results" of the climate crisis are climate refugees - people dislocated due to conditions such as drought or flooding. Latest estimates indicate up to 200 million climate refugees will be in the United States in 2050, she added.


"Climate migrants routinely face life-threatening hardships, discrimination and repression," Fonda said. "Who are we as people, as a country, if we turn our backs rather than open our hearts to our global neighbors seeking shelter and safety for their families?

"Climate change is also a human rights issue," she added.

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Fonda has marched to different locations around Washington, D.C., demanding politicians address the climate crisis every Friday since Oct. 11. The initiative, which is scheduled to take five more times, was modeled on the Fridays for Future campaign started by Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg.


Unlike previous Fire Drill Fridays, this week's demonstration started at Franklin Square rather than on Capitol Hill. The protesters then marched to financial institutions that invested in companies contracting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to finance migrant detention centers and border wall construction.

BlackRock, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo in downtown Washington were among the companies picketed by protesters.

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"The climate crisis is a human rights crisis," said actress Taylor Schilling, who joined the protest alongside actresses Kyra Sedgwick and Maura Tierney. "We have a responsibility to gather, working together [for] those members of the community that are hit hardest by it -- poor people, people of color, and indigenous -- and hold responsible the companies that benefit from this crisis."

Standing outside the BlackRock building, Fonda thanked the young demonstrators.

"They have shown us that this has to become the new normal," she said. "Don't stop, and we won't stop either."

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Seven protesters sat with their hands chained together in front of a Wells Fargo branch at 13th and I streets NW, creating a human blockade.

"These financial institutions are profiting off the fossil fuel industry and investing in immigrant detention centers," said the Rev. Noel Andersen of Church World Service. "We have to call it what it is -- a crisis."


Shut Down DC, a coalition that blocked key intersections in a September protest, also joined the rally. The protesters blocked the city's roads during the morning commute and then targeted the World Bank to demand that it "fully divest from fossil fuels immediately," a spokesperson said. Hours later, they joined Fire Drill Friday.

Throughout the protest, people chanted: "What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!"

Fonda wore her usual red coat, which she said would be the last piece of clothing she ever bought.

The actress was arrested during the first four Fire Drill Fridays. After spending a night in jail in November, she committed to stop risking arrest.

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