Dozens of people, young and old, created an aisle to welcome the Sonoma County teens who have been walking hundreds of miles for the past two weeks to spread a message about the urgency of climate change. They are part of the Sonoma County hub of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led organization with a mission to stop climate change and create jobs along the way. Their starting point was Paradise, ground zero for the devastating 2018 Campfire.
"In my bag I have jars of viles of ashes from homes that were lost in Paradise. But as a generation, we have the power to change the trajectory," Ema Govea, 17, said in a speech at the rally.
Govea is one of the Sonoma County Sunrisers who marched from Paradise.
"At first my feet were really sore and like I had a bunch of blisters," Govea said. "But what really what keeps me going is thinking about why I'm doing this and this moment in this movement that I'm a part of.
And Santa Rosa isn't where the march ends. The group continues on to San Francisco to stand outside of Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's houses to ask them to help pass the Civilian Climate Corps, that would create billions of jobs to combat the climate crisis.
Rachel Cohen, a sixteen-year-old who lives in Sebastopol, helped organize the action and is joining the marchers today towards San Francisco.
"We are young and strong and determined and we are scared honestly too," Cohen said. "This shows we are ready to challenge ourselves and to walk 266 frickin miles to prove this point that we need our futures back."