The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Fire Drill Fridays: Jane Fonda Is Back in DC Fighting for Climate Action!

Climate activists from DC and beyond, including Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe-nominated actress Taylor Schilling, joined Jane Fonda at Freedom Plaza


Today, climate activists from around the country joined Jane Fonda's Fire Drill Fridays rally live and in person for the first time in almost three years. Climate activists filled Freedom Plaza to "sound the alarm" on the climate emergency, calling for President Joe Biden to take urgent action. The program, which opened with a performance by a New Orleans brass band, featured a moving moment of silence for frontline communities who are already impacted by the mounting climate crisis, followed by a symbolic "alarm" of ringing bells.

Photos and videos of the rally will be available here. Credit: c Greenpeace USA

Actor and activist Jane Fonda said: "Our time is running out. Scientists are telling us we are in our "last decade of action." What we do or fail to do in the next decade to cut our greenhouse gas pollution in half will determine much about the future livability of this planet. So this is the time for bold action - before it is too late. That is exactly why we are here once again demanding change."

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said: "This is Code Red. Climate chaos is the greatest threat that humankind has ever faced, and we need to respond quickly and boldly. President Biden should start by declaring a climate emergency. All of us, especially our elected leaders, have a duty to all those suffering from climate chaos today, and all the generations to come. We must do everything we possibly can to transition rapidly from fossil fuel energy to renewable energy. This moment demands our action - let's stand together and deliver!"

Speakers - including Jerome Foster II, the youngest member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, Roishetta Ozane, Organizing Director of Southwest Louisiana/Southeast TX for Healthy Gulf, Maria Lopez-Nunez, Deputy Director of Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), and Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe nominated actress Taylor Schilling, as well as elected officials Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) - joined Jane in demanding that Congress reject Senator Joe Manchin's "Dirty Deal." The deal, which could expand oil and gas projects in the U.S. and open up communities to further destruction from fossil fuels, is set to be attached to must-pass legislation.

Maria Lopez-Nunez, Deputy Director of Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), said: "This dirty deal further consolidates the power of the fossil fuel industry through a handout that deeply harms the very communities hit first and worst by the climate crisis and legacy pollution. Our communities deserve a Just Transition to a healthy and non-toxic, community led transition, not one that uses renewables as decoration for fossil fuel expansion. This newest attempt to pass the dirty side deal is just another attempt to further erode our communities' rights; we deserve more."

Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ Third District) said: "Dirty industries have been padding their profit margins by offloading their worst messes on poor communities, communities of color, and Indigenous communities for decades. It comes as no surprise that they want to shove the Dirty Deal through Congress to make it even easier for them to do. As we move toward a clean energy future, we need policy solutions, like the Environmental Justice For All Act, that hold dirty industry to a higher standard for acting responsibly and being accountable to communities, not a lower one. It's time to finally put people and our planet over polluters. Many thanks to Jane Fonda and Fire Drill Fridays for being leaders in this fight for our climate future."

In 2023, Fire Drill Fridays plans to host rallies in the Gulf Coast and California, areas of the United States already seeing the visceral changes brought on by climate destruction. To learn more about upcoming programming, please visit

About the guests:

Jerome Foster II is a 20-year-old White House Climate Advisor, environmental justice activist, and emerging technology developer. He advises on President Biden's White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council as the youngest ever White House Advisor in history. He served as intern for the late Honorable John Lewis at 16-years old and served as Board Member for the DC State Board of Education at 15. He is Co-Founder at Waic Up which is an international communication to community impact charity which is an expansion of OneMillionOfUs, which mobilized 1 million young people to vote in the 2020 Elections.

Raul Grijalva began his career in public service as a community organizer in Tucson. Four decades later, he continues to be an advocate for those in need and underrepresented voices. He has served as US House Representative for Arizona's Seventh Congressional District for twenty years, and in 2018, became Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. He also serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce and is the Chairman Emeritus of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, as well as a long-standing member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He authored a letter championing the opposition to Manchin's permitting reform deal, and introduced the landmark Environmental Justice for All Act to fund environmental justice priorities.

Maria Lopez-Nunez (she/her) grew up in Bushwick and remembers being displaced multiple times by racism and violence, which sparked her commitment to fight extractive industries and end sacrifice zones once and for all. The Ironbound district of Newark, New Jersey where she resides, is predominantly Black and Latinx, and is one of the most toxic neighborhoods in the country. In her role as Deputy Director of Advocacy and Organizing of Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC); she challenges the current political system, and holds power brokers and polluters accountable while fighting for environmental, housing, immigrant, and racial justice. She currently serves on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, on the board for Climate Justice Alliance, and is the Co-Chair of the Grassroots Caucus for Building Equity and Alignment for Environmental Justice. You can catch Maria and her team in action in the 2019 film, The Sacrifice Zone.

Jeff Merkley has been one of the Senate's foremost champions for protecting our environment and taking on climate change since 2009. He's won bipartisan support to boost the Green Climate Fund, has used his seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to promote American climate leadership on the global stage, and has led the fight in the Senate against Arctic drilling. Senator Merkley introduced the Keep It in the Ground Act to completely end new fossil fuel leases on our federal lands and waters. Senator Merkley also recently championed Senate letters urging President Biden to declare a National Climate Emergency, and opposing Manchin's permitting reform bill.

Roishetta Ozane is the Organizing Director of Southwest Louisiana/Southeast TX for Healthy Gulf, and is currently organizing against the oil and gas buildout in Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas. She also founded and directs The Vessel Project of Louisiana, a mutual aid and disaster relief organization in Louisiana. Roishetta is a single mom of six and her children are the reason she is fighting so hard to save this planet.

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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