Fire Drill Fridays

Jane Fonda came to D.C. for four months to “bring the climate emergency to the axis of power,” creating a movement she titled Fire Drill Fridays. Fonda was inspired by youth climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, and from reading Naomi Klein’s book On Fire: The Case for a Green New Deal, to use the interval before filming the next season of Grace and Frankie for climate action and amplifying youth and indigenous voices that have been speaking out on the climate crisis. 

The action in D.C. ended last week, but is becoming a grass-roots movement throughout the U.S.

©Victoria Pickering

Vote. Speak. Act.

Those three simple words are the slogan of Fire Drill Friday. Fonda’s goal was to create a combination of science, passion and action – with teach-ins, speeches, and weekly protests in the shadow of the Capitol.

Rolando Navarro from the Center for International Environmental Law, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Gaurav Madan from Friends of the Earth with protestors in front of the US Capitol Building. ©Karen Ramsey

The protests drew both young and old activists:

Jerome Foster II, youth climate activist and Founder/Executive Director of OneMillionOfUs, a movement to mobilize youth to vote in 2020, spoke at the first fire drill and then attended subsequent protests to march alongside Fonda and mobilize the crowd. ©Karen Ramsey
Gloria Steinem getting arrested at age 85. ©Victoria Pickering

Peaceful civil disobedience was part of the plan, starting off with Jane Fonda getting arrested on the Capitol steps.

©Victoria Pickering

Each week Fonda invited some of her celebrity friends to help with the cause.

This woman’s sign summed up the experience:

Chris Soderstrom ©Rob Klug

In going to the protests, we saw and learned much about how a movement starts and builds. Our editorial team tried to cover it all – Karen Ramsey went to all 14 protests(!), Victoria Pickering went to most, and Rob Klug went to a couple. Here’s the full story of what we saw.

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