From the Washington Post:
By Michael E. Miller
June 15, 2021 at 2:14 a.m. PDT
In September 2019, the streets of Auckland, New Zealand, were a sea of protesters. Across the globe, several million people were marching as part of the “School Strike 4 Climate” youth movement sparked by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. But few demonstrations were more sweeping than the one in New Zealand’s largest city, where up to 80,000 marchers filled the streets.
Less than two years later, however, one of the groups that organized the Auckland event is disbanding because of what it says is its own racism.
In a Facebook post, School Strike 4 Climate’s Auckland chapter said it was shutting down because it “has been a racist, white-dominated space.” It directed people concerned about climate change to Indigenous-led groups and said it would not be organizing any more climate strikes.
“SS4C AKL has avoided, ignored, and tokenised BIPOC voices and demands, especially those of Pasifika and Māori individuals in the climate activism space,” it wrote. BIPOC is the acronym for Black, Indigenous and people of color, while Pasifika refers to people who identify with the Pacific islands. …
The announcement comes at a time of increased scrutiny on how ethnic minorities are treated within the climate activist movement. There was outrage last year when Ugandan environmentalist Vanessa Nakate was cropped out of a viral Associated Press photograph that also featured Thunberg and three other White activists. Worldwide protests against racial injustice after the death of George Floyd have deepened the debate.
In New Zealand, there have been growing calls to place people of color — who are disproportionately affected by climate change — at the center of the environmental movement.
“I really commend the School Strikers in Auckland for making this decision,” said Kera Sherwood-O’Regan of Sustained Ability, a group of disabled climate activists. “… There are many other youth- and non-youth-related organizations in the climate space that could benefit from similar conversations.”