A crowd of about 200 black-clad members of the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion gathered Monday morning at the southern end of New York City’s financial district. Some held banners painted with ghostly white animals or cardboard cutouts of trees and waves. In the background, a New Orleans-style jazz funeral band warmed up tubas, and one of the march’s emcees instructed people on the proper way to wail. (“Dig down and pull out your grief — because you gotta cry!”)
At the head of the procession, 20-year-old Ayisha Siddiqa took the megaphone. She explained how she’d come to the U.S. from a poor part of Pakistan when she was 5 years old and had lost family members as a result of frequent power outages, which are expected to increase globally as the climate crisis deepens. Attention turned to Richard McLachlan, a 68-year-old New Zealander, as he and another activist began reading Extinction Rebellion’s declaration of rebellion.