by Guillermo Mash
“Sustainability is not stealing from our children’s future” — Ali Meders-Knight
Before heading home from the Peoples Climate March in San Francisco, about 40 Chico-area residents gathered at their mural for a group photo in blue T-shirts designed by the Chico 350 organization. The T-shirts featured an outline of the state of California on fire, overlaid with the caption, “California is burning – vote out climate deniers.”
“It was an amazing experience — a once in a lifetime experience,” said Chico organizer Dave Garcia of the march. “People united here in solidarity hoping that our leaders and political officials would take note and really start doing something about climate change. It’s happening right now and it’s only going to get worse.”
The Chico protesters arrived in San Francisco early Sept. 8 on a bus chartered by the Chico chapter of 350.org to participate in the march that drew thousands of activists from around the world for the kick-off of a week of climate and social justice events that are focusing on the global impact of climate change and its intersection to jobs and justice.
Among the Chico participants were Mechoopda tribe member Ali Meders-Knight with her panel design, “Weaving the Dream for Green.” Meders-Knight based her design on a Mechoopda Indian basket on display in Bidwell Mansion, and with the help of most of the folks on the bus, the design was turned into a 35-foot mural on the sidewalk at the San Francisco Civic Center.
Meders-Knight’s design was one of 46 murals crafted by various organizations which surrounded the entire San Francisco Civic Center as one gigantic interwoven mural for climate and social justice.
The artists were thrown a curve ball soon after they created a perfectly symmetrical 40-foot circle outline in chalk. The mural organizers informed the group that the circle needed to be 35 feet, not 40 feet as they had been instructed before the event. Without missing a beat, part of the team began removing the incorrect chalk line with water and a push broom, and another group started laying out a new circle. The team finished its task of outlining the mural panel with chalk lines, that the Chico350 marchers then painted in upon their arrival at the Civic Center after their 1.7-mile march up Market Street from the Embarcadero.
Said Meders-Knight while standing just outside the completed mural: “The flowers and the whole ‘Weaving the Dream for Green’ was inspired by native artists, ethnographers and eagle ecology majors that have written books about traditional knowledge. It turned out very well. I feel we presented a really good mural.”
The Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice coalition estimated that 30,000 people showed up to march Saturday.
The murals will remain in the Civic Center throughout the Global Climate Summit, an international meeting of government and private-sector leaders from Sept. 12 -14 at the Moscone Center in South San Francisco. More information on the summit can be found here.
Guillermo Mash is a freelance contributor to ChicoSol.