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Activists Talk Climate Justice at McGill

Before joining the march in Jeanne-Mance Park, McGill students heard from four speakers – Tomas Jirousek, Derek Nystrom, Marcelle Partouche Gutierrez, and Jacqueline Lee-Tam.

On September 27, 2019, McGill students heard from four different speakers about tackling climate justice and the necessity of centring BIPOC voices in the movement. Here’s what they had to say:

Photographer | Yasna Khademian Yasna Khademian


Tomas Jirousek
Jirousek, a leader of the movement to change McGill’s varsity football name and a member of the Kainai First Nation, of the Blackfoot Confederacy, spoke on Indigenous activism in the movement for climate justice. “We know this territory, we know and love all of the creations Napi has blessed us with, who are just as important and necessary as we are. We know what it takes to protect our territory, and it will be with our knowledge that we fight for climate justice.”
Photographer | Yasna Khademian Yasna Khademian
Derek Nystrom
Nystrom formerly sat on the university’s Board of Governors before resigning in protest alongside Professor Darin Barney due to the Board’s failure to act on divestment. At the march, he spoke on this, saying, “By investing in fossil fuels, we are quite literally giving money to the people who are pouring gasoline and fossil fuels on that fire.”
Photographer | Yasna Khademian Yasna Khademian
Marcelle Partouche Gutierrez
Gutierrez, a local organizer and youth advocate, is deeply engaged with the Montreal community and recently graduated from McGill. At the march, she spoke on the intersectionality of climate justice. “Indigenous sovereignty is climate justice. Accessibility for all bodies is climate justice,” she told the protestors. “Centring Black and Brown youth in the movement is climate justice.”
Photographer | Yasna Khademian Yasna Khademian
Jacqueline Lee-Tam
Lee-Tam, a writer, youth activist, and McGill student who has spoken extensively against the Kinder Morgan pipeline in British Columbia, was also present at the event. During the march, she stated, “We’re going to need all of you to tell our Board of Governors that it is reckless to remain invested in fossil fuels,” reminding students that the Governors will vote on divestment in December. “We will win with everyone, or we will not win at all.”
More photos from the Montreal Climate March on September 27, 2019: