“With privilege comes responsibility,” said OPRF sophomore Frankie Krystal during her speech about the importance of sustainability. On Jan. 31, a group of over 60 Oak Park residents piled into Live Cafe on Oak Park Avenue for a night full of awareness and festivities all with one purpose: advocating for climate change.
The event was hosted by the It’s Our Future Core Team, a group of high school students who work in climate advocacy through Seven Generations Ahead. “I would say it really went well. We were sold out, had great attendance, and made a big impact on the people who went”, said Roz Belie, a group leader. The night featured musical entertainment from a series of local bands such as Girls Rock and Idioglossia. “There were a ton of really great inspirational speakers and everybody added to the energy of the event. Being together made me feel like we were all united while we were taking on this issue” said Jack Kelsey, an Idioglossia band member. Speakers included representatives from the Economy Shop in Oak Park, poetry performances from members of OPRF’s Spoken Word, and appearances from representatives of prestigious climate groups such as the One Earth Film Festival, Openlands and the Sierra Club.
The event was unique to any other in the community, mainly because it catered specifically to students. Not to mention, the entire event was completely sustainable. Roz Belie said, “IOF made this a total zero-waste event, we also brought our own compost bin and talked to the venue to make sure that everything was vegan.’ The students were asked to write down their own climate resolutions on the cafe walls as well as to bring an old item of clothing to donate to the Economy Shop, a popular resale store, upon admission.
Amongst the loud music and sweaty dance floor, simmered a strong feeling of community. With the recent rise of Fridays for Future strikes and youth icons like Greta Thunberg, young people in communities like Oak Park have begun a surge of activism on a local and global scale. Climate Live was a simple steppingstone for the IOF team and their efforts to raise awareness. They plan on organizing several events for Earth Day in April as well as coordinating local screenings with the One Earth Film Fest. In the meantime, students in Oak Park have continued to praise IOF for what it means to be an activist, teaching them about dedication but also the importance of having fun with it.
Core member of It’s Our Future and a senior at OPRF