by Chris Diming, VA Campus Organizer, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Hello, everyone! I am CCAN's new campus organizer for Virginia, and I am very pleased to make your acquaintance. Since starting earlier this month, I have had a great time meeting with students from across the Commonwealth, petitioning, phonebanking (calling students can be incredibly entertaining sometimes), and helping plan for and staff events. Specifically, I am proud to have worked on March 24's March to End Dominion's Power Madness in Richmond!
On the morning of the March, I woke up to rain on the skylights, thinking "well, looks like there won't be many people coming today." In most cases, when you think of Richmond, VA and rain, you do not think of over 200 people listening to speakers, voicing their opinions, and generally enjoying themselves at a rally.
After rushing to pick up supplies, I finally arrived at the rally, where I found myself to be happily mistaken! Not only were staff present, but volunteers had already arrived to help set up. Indeed, in a couple hours, activists were all over Richmond's Kanawha Plaza.
The rally itself was an impressive spectacle to behold. At least 220 people arrived to voice their displeasure at Dominion in pouring rain, with signs, plenty of smiles, and overwhelmingly positive energy. What might have been a miserable setting was instead a march characterized by joyful defiance. People of all ages from everywhere in the state showed up, and underneath every umbrella and behind every sign were expressions of excitement. It became obvious that, by targeting Dominion, we had struck a chord that activists had been eager to tap-in to for quite some time. The cheerful assembly of students, environmental activists, social justice advocates, and ordinary citizens had defied the weather and thrown a sizable stone in Dominion-VA Power's eye.
Regarding students, it is great being able to work with them again. It feels like I have gone full circle, because I had been really active at my alma mater, Christopher Newport University, during my undergraduate days. Not only am I organizing for a cause I believe in, but I am also helping current students have the same great experiences I did. Since starting just over three weeks ago, I have visited students at Lynchburg College, George Mason University, James Madison University, Mary Baldwin College, and William & Mary, and I can affirmatively tell you that I am inspired by their passion and enthusiasm for activism. Today, I am excited to be visiting my alma mater again to continue a fight that I had to end when I (unfortunately) graduated. It is truly amazing to be part of something so big, and I look forward to my future endeavors as CCAN's Virginia Campus Organizer.