Despite the graveness of the march’s cause, the mood was more celebratory than somber, marked by artistic props, oversized banners and colorful crowds. People sang and danced, chanted and cheered. According to event organizers, over 20 marching bands participated in the parade. And one of those bands came from the Berkshires.
Marching along with the 350Massachusetts Berkshires Node, the Berkshire Bateria Samba band livened things up in their section of the parade, playing repeatedly throughout the several mile stretch of the route. The Bateria brought it for seven and half hours straight, energizing marchers and observers alike. “I even saw some police officers bobbing their heads to the rhythm of our drums,” remarked Bateria’s Jamie Samowitz in an email following the march.
The Bateria is headed by Egremont residents Teri Monteleone-Weber and her husband Jim. Prior to the march, I spoke to Monteleone-Weber about the role of Samba in all of this and her reasons for joining the cause.
“We play a lot of Samba, and we hope to bring that momentum and excitement to this movement,” she said when asked what to expect from the Bateria. She explained that Samba for a cause like this is “perfect” since it is “powerful, energetic, happy, creates movement, and draws attention.”
As for why she decided to march, she said it’s because she believes we can do the right thing.
“I think we can lower our carbon emissions. If enough people who are intelligent come together to make their point, I have faith we can slow down the temperature and protect our environment, our home.”
Although change has not yet come, Monteleone-Weber said she is ready to direct her energy towards the movement that is building momentum for it to arrive.
“I care about the planet. I feel very sad and very connected to it. I feel it needs all of us who have the time and energy and love to give.”
“I’d like to see us change,” she added. “I’d like to see that our world is going to be OK for the future, for my grandchildren and their grandchildren.”
Parading for Posterity
Other Berkshirites who marched expressed a similar motivation to march for the sake of future generations.
“I have grandchildren,” said Tom Ennis of Williamstown. “The way we’re going, they’re going to experience a world that’s a lot different than ours. And it’s not going to be better. It’s going to be worse. So we’re just doing our part to change direction.”
Wendy Brown, an architect who lives in Dalton, attended the march with three teenagers – Madeline (16), Zack (14) and Colleen (16). Afterwards, Brown noted that the main reason she marched was for the sake of her young cohorts.
“I brought those kids to show them that people care about what’s happening to their future, and that they themselves have voices too.”
Colleen was already well aware of the power of not just her own voice, but of the multiplication of voices calling for change.
“I’m marching to raise awareness for climate change and to stand up for what I think is right. Climate change is a major issue that is destroying our planet, and action must be taken,” she said. “Together we can make a difference.”