Extinction Rebellion meets on Boston Common


by Evelyn Miller

On the first of August, Extinction Rebellion held their monthly meeting on Boston Common for the approaching Week of Rebellion. Extinction Rebellion, or “XR,” is an international movement, originally born in London in 2018.  It uses non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act on the “Climate and Ecological Emergency.” So what were they doing at the corner of Charles St and Beacon St? Well, lucky for us, they have a Boston branch. 

There’s a good list of actions the chapter of XR local to Boston are conducting. The organization is running a continuous “State House Stand-Out,” a long-term vigil where XR members and non-member volunteers stand outside of the capitol building with signs during every hour that the State House is open — and they have been doing it for over two months, since as far back as June 5. Their demand is that Governor Healey, Senate President Spilka, and House Speaker Mariano commit to “No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure” in Massachusetts. They’ve been turning some heads over at the state capitol.

This was just one order of business XR Boston discussed at what was their general annual meeting on Boston Common. The primary subject was the upcoming “Week of Rebellion” taking place from September 18 through September 24. During this exciting week, the organization will direct daily actions and events to garner the needed attention from state officials in Massachusetts and ultimately procure from them a reaction. Ideally it will manifest the enactment of a systemic change in MA’s energy infrastructure. 

Until then, the group is focused on planning, organizing and outreach for this important week. Everyone is to spread the word with “chalking parties,” flyering at farmers markets (don’t forget your wheat paste!), and stickering subway stations. Volunteers were organized at the meeting on Tuesday according to their greater neighborhood in order to strategize and plan outreach activities, ensuring the message spreads across the greater Boston area. 

XR Boston has one priority day for their rebellion week: Monday, September 18, the first day. They hope to gather as many people as possible for a massive vigil at the State House. Other activities XR will be conducting throughout the week include “die-ins” (a form of protest where demonstrators position themselves on the ground to appear dead), festivals, and bike rides.

Evelyn Miller is a Northeastern Legislative and Activism Co-op Student who works with the Twin Threats Priority Campaign.