A small band of climate protection advocates made a very personal appeal to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer outside his Park Slope residence on Sunday morning.
Members of Sunrise Kids NYC flaunted the name of Schumer’s grandson, Noah, during their protest as part of their fictional story depicting what they believe will be the young boy’s life fate if climate change is not addressed. This controversial attempt to garner Schumer’s attention cam as the final round of negotiations on the Build Back Better agenda are ongoing, which protesters fear will include cuts to climate provisions.
“We are a group of parents, educators, and kids and we’re coming out to send a message to Chuck Schumer about our future,” Liat Olenick of Sunrise Kids NYC said. “We actually have a message for him specifically about his grandson, Noah. He likes to talk about Noah all the time — I’ve actually met with Senator Schumer where he’s brought up Noah in talking about climate change and the climate crisis. But the reality is if he wants Noah to have a livable future, he needs to fight harder for the climate provisions and Build Back Better.”
The Build Back Better Agenda is the Biden-Harris administration’s plan to create more jobs, cut taxes, and lower the costs for working families. Several aspects within this bill addresses economic, racial, and healthcare disparities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the plan addresses ways to handle climate change through creating more clean energy jobs, funded through tax increases on the wealthy and large corporations.
The agenda’s budget has significantly shrunk from $3.5 trillion to a shifting $1.75 to $1.9 trillion, with cuts being made to several progressive parts, such as the removal of free community college tuition.
According to the White Houses’ description of Build Back Better, President Biden is focusing on advancing environmental justice by “create good-paying, union jobs, establish an energy efficiency and clean energy standard, expand and extend clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits, and enlist a new Civilian Climate Corps.”
Protesters outside of Schumer’s residents said they feared that these climate crisis initiatives may be next on the budgetary chopping block.
Some demonstrates brought their toddlers with them to hold up signs, drawing glances from those leaving the apartment building on Sunday morning. Reading the signs aloud, the protesters spoke of a future rife with famine and flooding. During this constructed narrative, the group used Schumer’s grandson as a protagonist dealing with a vastly different world in the decades to come.
Although employing Schumer’s grandson in their protest could be seen as morally questionable, those participating say they are appealing directly to the senator’s humanity.
“I’m worried about my daughter Pepper’s future. She was born in 2018, just like Chuck Schumer’s grandson Noah. We can’t ignore our kids’ futures any longer — it’s time for our leaders to take bold and brave action to make the world safe,” Lauren Teichner said.
Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This story first appeared on amNewYork.