Climate advocates rally to demand Iowa’s Congressional Delegation support for Thrive Act

Protesters from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Sunrise Movement, and SEIU Local 199, rallied alongside students and Iowa City residents to demand Iowa’s Congressional Delegation support of the Thrive Act.


Jeff Sigmund

A group of people pose for their profits and to show their signs on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Iowa Citizens for Community Change held the rally on the Riverside Dr. overpass.

Maddie Johnston, Arts Reporter

A group of around 40 people congregated on the overpass at the intersection of Burlington Street and Riverside Drive Wednesday afternoon to advocate for the THRIVE Act (Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy) and call on Iowa’s Congressional Delegation to make a statement on the act.

The economic recovery and infrastructure package would invest $10 trillion over the next decade into creating jobs for 15 million Americans in areas of energy infrastructure and health care, with advancement of racial, Indigenous, gender, environmental, and economic justice at its forefront, according to the CCI’s action statement. The act aims to cut climate pollution in half by 2030.

“We’re out in support of the Thrive Act, and we’re trying to bring attention to it,” Outreach Coordinator of The Iowa City Sunrise Movement Hannah Zadeh told The Daily Iowan. “Our legislators are on recess right now, and they’re supposed to be listening to their constituents. So, we are speaking loud so that they will listen.”

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The protest, organized by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement in collaboration with the Iowa City Sunrise Movement and SEIU Local 199, further called on MidAmerican and Alliant Energy to retire all coal plants in Iowa by 2030 and transition to a 100 percent carbon-free energy system.

“If we don’t take care of the land we live on, it can’t take care of us,” said Katie Biechler, one of the directors for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. “I’m here because I have two nieces and a nephew, and a partner with a little boy, and they all deserve to drink clean water, and breathe clean air and to grow old on a planet that is hospitable. I am here today, most of all, because I have hope.”

Protesters passed off megaphones while they hung signs off the bridge urging passersby to back the Thrive agenda. Together they chanted, “No more status quo, fossil fuels have got to go,” as vehicles honked below.

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“We know that Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities are the communities that have been historically and systemically disenfranchised and marginalized by our society today,” Biechler said to the crowd. “The folks who are working the majority of low wage jobs are those folks. They’re women, they’re grandparents, they’re Black, Brown, and Indigenous folks. Our country has done them a disservice.”

Protesters left the location after a half hour to march together toward the Pentacrest to stand in support and solidarity with the Transgender Visibility Rally.