On Sunday, thousands of people participated in the “End Fossil Fuels” march through Midtown Manhattan, voicing their demand for world leaders to promptly transition away from fossil fuels, a cause of immense climate destruction and global warming. The march coincided with the gathering of world leaders in New York City for the UN General Assembly and the UN Climate Ambition Summit.
Led by DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving), a group referred to as the “Global South Diaspora” comprising numerous individuals, this collective represented communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Kenya, Jamaica, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, China, Black Americans, as well as local city council members Shahana Hanif and Sandy Nurse.
Amidst the rhythmic beats of drums, signs bearing messages in various languages, and artwork crafted by the participants themselves, this contingent sang songs, chanted slogans, and danced in unity on the streets of Manhattan.
Numerous attendees shared personal narratives detailing the impact of floods and droughts on their homes or villages back in their home countries. Some recounted being compelled to leave their villages due to the inability to sustain their livelihoods through farming.
A common thread among all participants was the acknowledgment that the United States, its military, and its corporations were major contributors to climate change. However, it was emphasized that countries in the “Global South,” spanning South Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, and South America, bore the brunt of these emissions and the ensuing climate crisis. Many of the march participants reside in the United States, and they felt a responsibility to advocate for change within the country.
The “Global South Diaspora” contingent also underscored that, as working-class individuals, they experienced the effects of the climate crisis in New York City, from flooded basements during hurricanes and storms to the smoke from Canadian wildfires that blanketed the city for several days during the summer.
The march stressed the imperative to halt all new oil and gas projects if the world aims to remain within relatively safe limits of climate warming. The event unfolded in the wake of the hottest summer ever recorded, exacerbated by global warming, and against a backdrop of record profits for oil and gas corporations.
Following the march, DRUM and several organizations involved in the event have arranged a series of citywide activities to facilitate dialogue, mutual learning, and the formation of a movement capable of countering corporate influence on governmental decisions by promoting what they term as ‘false solutions.’
DRUM was established in 2000 with the aim of empowering low-wage immigrant workers, youth, and families of South Asian and Indo-Caribbean descent in New York City. Its mission encompasses the pursuit of economic and educational justice, as well as civil and immigrant rights.