Jane Fonda has spent a lot of her life protesting and it doesn’t seem like she’s got any intention of stopping. Ever. The seasoned actress and activist took to the streets outside the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. for the fourteenth time in the past three months to announce what 2020 will bring for her Fire Drill Friday climate protests.
Joined by Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, June Diane Raphael as well as Indigenous leaders, student activists and other protesters, Fonda explained, “We’re building an army, folks. We need to make it big.” This is the last Friday Jane will spend in Washington—she’s heading back to L.A. to film the final season of Grace and Frankie—but she’ll continue to protest and she’s working with Greenpeace to expand the civil disobedience across the United States.
Starting next Friday (and presumably into perpetuity) Fire Drill Fridays will be hosted in any city in the U.S. who wants one. The FDF website will provide information packets to organizers and serve to unite the movement across the country. Miss Fonda, for her part, will continue protesting the first Friday of every month, traveling to a different California city each time, starting with Los Angeles in February.
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Since Jane began these protests along with Greenpeace and other various climate advocate organizations in October, the actress has been joined by increasing numbers of participants including a whole troupe of her famous friends. Lily Tomlin, Ted Danson, Sam Waterston, Manny Jacinto, Diane Lane and Brooklyn Decker are just some of the celebs who have dedicated time to the movement—many getting arrested in the process.
Online, there’s an even larger following with as many as 100,000 people across the globe tuning into the group’s weekly Facebook Live stream of the event, Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard told the crowds gathered today.
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Jane’s weekly Fire Drill Fridays (and accompanying Thursday “teach-ins“) were sparked after she read Canadian climate journalist and activist Naomi Klein’s 2019 book, On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal. Klein’s writings not only introduced Jane to the marvelous teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, but also made the compelling connection between climate change and every other social injustice plaguing society. Each of the Fire Drill Friday protests have focused on how one issue that seems separate (feminism, health care, jobs, immigration, etc.) can be directly related to the climate crisis and also propose a holistic solution to the crisis (like the one put forth in the Democrats’ Green New Deal) that takes many inequalities into account.
While the now-expanding Fire Drill Friday protests appear to be in the wider United States for now, the livestreams are available everywhere and the event’s speakers often address Canadian-specific issues or are Canadian themselves. It remains to be seen, though, if Fire Drill Fridays will become available in Canada someday, too.