Nick Vasquez and me, shortly before his arrest.


Nick Vasquez and his comrade, Donald, both leaders in the Extinction Rebellion movement, a worldwide environmental group that seeks to prevent the extinction of the human race by environmental catastrophe through non-violent acts of civil disobedience, were both arrested Friday, 17th of September, in Tallahassee, FL, at the steps of the capitol building. I plan to interview them both on my podcast Vanguard Youth Radio. Nick & Donald have been traveling throughout Florida in their quest to pressure Governor DeSantis to fulfill his obligations on the environment. They have been arrested multiple times, some charges were dropped, others are still pending, and they need our support, especially from the students and youth who can join the rebellion.

Shortly before Nick & Donald laid out the fake oil and blood to symbolize the environmental threat politicians have caused the people and future generations by their inaction, they asked whoever wanted to speak to come forward, and I had the honor to be one of those speakers. I spoke briefly on how people had come from all over Florida for the event, and that we need to unite, that Florida is the frontline of this struggle, that our entire state is at risk. One of the comrades I spoke with, who was a fellow pallbearer of the coffin with earth inside of it we marched on the streets with to symbolize the risk our planet faces, was Sophia, who was on her way back to Minnesota to join water protectors to protest the pipeline there, much like we did in Standing Rock in late 2016 I reported on this blog. She happens to have the same name as the water protector Sophia who nearly lost her arm in Standing Rock due to police repression.

Tallahassee, which Floridians call Tally for short (was a rally in Tally), is a relatively small town, the distance from Florida State University to the capitol building is only about a 5 minute drive, I was able just before the protest to visit the plaque of my late comrade Jack Lieberman, who was an activist on campus in the early 70s protesting the Vietnam War. Feeling the spirit of Jack with me, I drove 5 hours on Friday (to Tally and back), informed by my friend and comrade Anne Hemingway of the event, who also knew Jack, I felt I had to go. It was quite inspirational, seeing Nick & Donald, locking arms, and refusing to leave, as the officers dragged them off, and they said they were willing to sacrifice themselves for future generations. It brought me back to 10 years ago, when I myself was arrested a couple of times during Occupy, also in acts of civil disobedience. Nick seems to be a courageous leader, and you can see he is a humble young man. At the end of the event it was discovered it was his 24th birthday, rather than spend it partying, he spent it protesting and spent that night behind bars. Nick quoted in his speech both Chomsky and Einstein (the former I had the honor of meeting in 2011) and spoke eloquently, as we marched, he played a speech by one of my heroes, the young environmentalist Greta Thunberg, Nick also expressed to me admiration for Assange as I mentioned I met his family in Miami. These youth, these activists, this movement, needs media attention (if only alternative media so be it), needs support, we must continue to organize, for the very survival of humanity as we know it. This movement has had success in London, and it is on us, in the US, in Florida, to continue to organize these actions till we cannot be ignored any longer.