RISE for SERC and Join Us

PC: Kelly Chang

“People gonna rise like the water

Gonna calm this crisis down

I hear the voice of my great granddaughter

Saying ‘keep it in the ground’!”

We sung this chant, over and over, as we marched down the 2 mile stretch from the Embarcadero to San Francisco City Hall; 40,000 voices reverberating skywards up from Market Street, growing and rising up and out into the surprisingly cloudless sky. We were students and teachers, young and old, indigenous and activists. We were loud and heard.

On September 8, 2019, the Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) led a UC Berkeley contingent in the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice march in San Francisco. We marched, waving signs that read “Destroy the patriarchy, not the planet” and “Climate inaction is a human rights violation”, demanding for intersectional climate action and policy. Immediately.

UC Berkeley joined hundreds of thousands of marchers, from 800 different marches all across the globe, in a call that went beyond protecting a national park or a stream or a forest; we were demanding a future for our children and their children.

We were demanding a systemic change to a system that commodifies our environment and simultaneously dispossess people from their lands.

We were demanding an environmental movement that was intersectional and intent on its inclusion.

PC: Kelly Chang

The march was a testament to, as SERC’s lead Community Organizer (and head of the UC Berkeley contingent) Jed Lee puts it, “the power of the people and community.” And where does SERC fit into this? Well, “SERC believed that as UC Berkeley students it was our duty to be out there in solidarity and resistance! While marches are not a one time fix, they are a victory for the people in being an inspirational display of care for our climate and people!”

The UC Berkeley contingent of the Rise march was almost entirely organized by Jed and other leaders from SERC. SERC held multiple poster making parties with Speak Out Now in the days leading up to Rise, met in a coalition of march leaders beforehand, and covered travel costs (along with the People’s Climate Movement) for any UC Berkeley student who applied. We ensured that Rise was well-publicized and accessible to all students at Berkeley.

Our Rise efforts worked, too. More than 80 UC Berkeley community members showed up, from all disciplines and backgrounds. Students came ready with their signs made, BART tickets in their pocket, and fighting face on. SERC mobilized the environmental community on campus to show up, show out, and show solidarity to the groups that are on the front lines of environmental injustices.

SERC embeds this changemaking mindset into all of its works. Since 2012, we’ve been on the forefront of environmental change and improvements on UC Berkeley’s campus and in the community. In the past year alone we have continued to promote environmental justice by implementing the Decolonize the Environment workshop series, spearheading the Environmentorship program, growing the SERC Membership team by 90 people, raising over $15k for Solar Spring Break and plastic recycling research, and more.

And we’re just getting started. SERC is growing at a rapid rate and we need your help to continue our work. Supporters like you make SERC’s activism and engagement possible and essential to UC Berkeley’s environmental community. We’re barely going on our 7th year and, as you’ve seen above, we’ve already changed and strengthened the environmental narrative on UC Berkeley’s campus.

Help us continue our work and increase our reach and impact by considering a donation to SERC on March 14th for UC Berkeley’s Big Give fundraising event: http://bit.ly/2iehs6Z. Your donation will go entirely to support our programs, staff, and growth.

Towards the end of the Rise March, a second chant broke out: “We are rising like flowers out of concrete/ We are rising like warriors into these streets.” Since our creation, SERC has dedicated  itself to transforming these words into a reality. We’re just getting started, and we have a long way to go, but we’re rising. Join us.

PC: Kelly Chang

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