Gretchen Dahlkemper Alfonso is a field organizer with Mom’s Clean Air Force. With her permission we’re reposting her beautiful piece about why she’s disrupting her weekend to go to the People’s Climate March in New York on 9/21. Gretchen got an early start on environmental issues with Sister Pat Lupo and the Benedictine Sisters in Erie, PA. She will join with Sister Claire Marie Surmik, OSB and Sister Lucia Surmik, OSB in New York City for the People’s Climate March. *Sister Pat can not travel to NYC because she is leading a linked event in Erie (Flier 09-03-14).
I am marching for Reny, my fun-loving 5 year old who loves to spend his summers swimming, kayaking, and playing on the beaches of Lake Erie – a lake that, due to climate change, is threatened by toxic algae blooms.
I am marching for Fiona, my sweet 3 year old who loves animals – frogs, snakes (much to her mother’s dismay!), insects, birds, you name it! I am marching because the very animals she loves to discover outside are threatened by a changing climate. I am marching because Fiona is no stranger of struggling to breathe as asthma strips her tiny body’s ability to do the most basic of human actions.
I am marching for my baby, Declan, who suffers from mast cell disease. Declan, whose symptoms flare with extreme heat and allergies, suffers during extreme weather events and during the extended allergy seasons brought on by a changing and chaotic climate.
I am marching for my husband, Reinaldo, who, much to his despair, has never been able to visit the homes where his grandparents and parents were born and raised in Cuba and whose own childhood city, Miami, could be swallowed up by the rising sea by the time our great-grandchildren hope to explore their own roots.
I am marching because when I said yes to being a mother and a wife I said yes to protecting my family with my whole body, soul, and heart. As part of that promise I will march and fight to protect us from climate change.
— Gretchen Dahlkemper Alfonso, Moms Clean Air Force, Field Director (reposted with permission)