Sometimes you find yourself in the moment, and sometimes the moment finds you.
April 29, 2017 was a moment that found us. Our team at Purpose had the great privilege of working closely with the People’s Climate Movement for two months in the leadup to the March for Jobs, Justice and Climate. A coalition of labor, faith, youth, environmentalists, environmental, racial and economic justice organizations, the People’s Climate Movement has its roots in 2014’s People’s Climate March ( PCM, as it’s colloquially known), with new march was planned for Trump’s 100th day in office.
Despite record heat in DC, pouring rain in Chicago, thunderstorms in St. Louis, a blizzard in Denver, and hail in Houston, People’s Climate Movement showed up in huge numbers, with spirit and power.
Over 200,000 marched along Pennsylvania Ave and surrounded the White House in Washington, D.C., and another 100,000 took to the streets at 370+ sister marches around the world.
Building on our experience supporting sister marches inspired by the Women’s March, the Purpose team helped the People’s Climate Movement leverage its vast volunteer base through compelling digital content and distributed organizing.
We worked with hundreds of local organizers, many of whom had never organized a mobilization before, provided coaching, support and guidance for how to mobilize locally. We generated guides, communications and peer-to-peer support systems, helped drive press coverage for sister marches, and collected reports from the field.
Purpose also generated dozens of pieces of content in collaboration with the PCM team, and ran a sophisticated targeting operation to drive the conversation online and drive supporters to People’s Climate Marches around the country. One of the most successful drivers of social and traditional media coverage was a short film we produced starring Little Miss Flint, a 10-year-old who has spotlighted the plight of Flint, Michigan’s residents fighting lead poisoning and environmental injustice.
Among the lessons learned from the People’s Climate March is that targeted online content, volunteer-led offline organizing, and a powerful coalition base to mobilize are critical strategies to mobilizing big numbers.
And even more importantly, those key pieces — among others — can set the stage for ongoing organizing everywhere in the country, helping leverage the People’s Climate moment into a powerful movement.