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September, 2019

They’re not sure if they’re where they need to be. A man and woman have arrived at the north side of the White House, where many protests are held, but the hordes of schoolchildren and their allies, united in their fight against climate change, are absent. The pair ask around until a helpful woman with a red sticker on her shirt tells them they need to get to the Ellipse. 

A chant fills the oblong field: “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Climate change has got to go!” The protesters hold signs with clever lines, orange flames, and declarations of support for Greta high in the sky. Cameras belonging to news stations mirror the signs, hoisted high above the crowd, too.

Onlookers and more journalists stand at the edges. A cameraman thinks aloud that Reuters and the AP are already here as he sets up. Two men exchange flyers for upcoming events and a woman stumbles over an awkward script, trying to get the words just right. They can scarcely see the kids through older protestors and camera crews, but a woman’s sign says why they’re all here: to “listen to the youth, who listen to science.”

It’s time to march, and an irritated woman gives directions to media and onlookers to move. “We need the youth on the sidewalk so this march can happen!” she says. They’re ready to march; they just need the grown-ups to get out of the way.

Will Warren writes Scene and Heard. If you know of a location worthy of being seen or heard, email him at wwarren@washingtoncitypaper.com.

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