March for Science

Hundreds rally in Syracuse's March for Science despite rain

Syracuse's Clinton Square hosted one of the 610 satellite marches as part of a worldwide movement advocating for people to support the sciences.

A light drizzle didn’t stop hundreds from swarming Clinton Square on Saturday morning to support the March for Science, a worldwide movement that took place in six continents and all 50 states in the U.S.

Supporters gathered around a small red tent, under which several speakers stepped to a microphone and advocated for more support of the sciences. Their remarks were met with cheers, jeers and chants from the crowd, which included a diverse mix of adults, teenagers and children.

Photo: Morgan Bulman

“You may be surprised to learn that there are people out there who don’t believe humans are responsible for climate change,” said Dr. Donald J. Hughes, a chemistry lab manager at LeMoyne College.

That remark was met with resounding opposition from the crowd, which booed heavily.

“The next generation deserves to know the truth.” Hughes said. After continuing to inspire the crowd, he finished his rally cry by saying, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to have your own facts.”

At the heart of the March for Science movement is the desire for increased funding for the sciences under President Donald Trump’s leadership. According to NPR, the idea for the marches stemmed from the Women’s March that occurred in Washington D.C. shortly after Trump’s inauguration.

The first hour of Saturday morning’s event in Syracuse was designated for speeches, followed by an hour of a more free-flowing march that eventually turned into supporters simply filing out to return home and pick up trash in the areas surrounding Clinton Square.

Local science organizations passed out information and engaged with protesters by tabling at the event. The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry Alumni Association and the Solidarity Coalition established their presence at tables across the square from the speakers.

Some supporters surrounding the small red tent that housed the speakers and microphone dressed up as scientists, sporting lab coats, or even wore t-shirts that bore messages like “Science isn’t alternative facts” and “Got Polio? Me either, thanks Science.”

Signs littered the square as well and protesters lifted them high in the air throughout the rally. “Science you are my density… I mean Destiny,” “Defiance for Science” and “Go Fact Yourself” were among the messages displayed on the 25 or so signs that were visible.

A heavy emphasis during speeches was put on passing on knowledge about science to future generations. Near the back of the crowd, one mother was overheard saying she let her children choose what to write on their sign. A small boy at her side held a yellow poster that read, “Be nice, Mr. Trump.” Many other signs held by parents and their children emphasized that science can’t be debated since it is based in fact and not theory.

“Let our indigenous voices be heard,” said SUNY ESF Professor Jack Manno, “...we’re practicing what we’re preaching.”

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