Following Pope Francis’s address to Congress Thursday, the pope stood on the balcony of the U.S. Capitol and appeared to the crowd that flowed down to the Mall, where an environmental rally had drawn a diverse group of activists, singers and religious leaders.
Rachael Lamb, national organizer for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, said, “We were here to celebrate the pope’s leadership on climate action and climate change…We resonate with the pope even though we are evangelicals, we are not Catholics, because he is talking about what all Christians should do: love God, love our neighbor and take care of our creation.”
Another activist on the Mall, Dominque Hazzard, a member of the Black Youth Project 100, said, “The Black Lives Matter and the Climate and Justice [movements] are totally connected because around the world, climate change is disproportionately impacting people of color and the working class.
“The movement is about ending state sanctioned violence against black people,” Hazzard said.
E. Faye Williams, president and CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, said, “Coming out to see the pope has such historical significance because this pope seems to agree with much of what President Barack Obama is doing and I think this will help to energize some people who have been on the negative side.
“I hope that those 70 million Catholics will realize what the pope is saying, especially about climate change, immigration and justice.”