The Launch of Fire Drill Fridays

Speaking today at the launch of Fire Drill Fridays.

17-year-old Jerome Foster 11, who has been striking for Climate every Friday in front of the White House.

Left to right: Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, me, Naomi Klein and Annie Leonard, head of Greenpeace USA

With me granddaughter, Vasser Turner Seydell

Vasser, being arrested…her first time

Me being arrested…not my first time

It was a grand launch. The weather was perfect. All the speakers were wonderful, the press coverage was awesome. White plastic “handcuffs” were put on each of us, we were taken to the nearby police station for a few hours. The plastic handcuffs hurt more than the metal ones and I discovered that it’s not easy for an 82-year-old to get in and out of a police paddy wagon without the use of her hands. All the police women and men were super polite and nice. There were about 16 of us all together, divided into 2 cells with the doors left open. We used the time, a few hours, to organize and plan. Then we each paid $50 (Fire Drill Friday provided the funds for those who didn’t have) and were released. We then walked to a nearby coffeehouse and debriefed.

This has all come together very fast. I only moved to D.C. 2 weeks ago. The idea came to me over Labor Day weekend in Big Sur. I was with my pals Catherine Keener and Rosanna Arquette and I started reading Naomi Klein’s new book, “On Fire: The {Burning} Case for a Green New Deal.” Everything Naomi writes rocks my world but this one really brought home to me the urgency of our situation. The young, Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, who started the Friday School Strikes for Climate in front of the Swedish Parliament has said, “This is a crisis. We must act as if our house is on fire…because it is.”

That’s why I’m calling these actions “Fire Drill Fridays.” You can go to our website, or follow our Thursday teach-ins on Facebook at 7pm EST. @firedrillfriday. This will be live-streamed with the celebs, scientists and folks most impacted by climate change who live in frontline communities. We will discuss in more depth the issues we will focus on the next Friday morning and take your questions. I really hope you join us for these teach-ins. The issues are complex and we all need to understand them better…I know I do..

Next Thursday, Oct 17th, we are focusing on a Green New Deal. This is a truly vital thing for us to better understand. This is the framework that will guide us moving forward. It will be viciously attacked by the Fossil Fuel Industry & the politicians they’ve bought off. We the people must unite behind it. Tune in Thursday the 17th at 7pm to understand why. The beloved Sam Waterston will join me for the teach-in as will Rhiana Gunn-Wright, one of the authors of the Green New Deal. Ibram X Kendi, Professor & Director, Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University & author of the remarkable “Stamped From the Beginning” and the newly published “How to Be An Antiracist” will join us for the Fire Drill Friday the next day, Oct 18th.

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  1. This is so awesome! I wish I was old enough to attend, and closer to Washington… The part where you said “Me getting arrested, not my first time…”, I cackled. 😂

    • Jane, I wish I knew you were in Minneapolis again. Welcome back so soon since you were here this summer. Hope to see you again soon!

  2. It’s almost been 50 years since you were arrested in Cleveland, how does it feel 50 years later? Also pretty funny how they used zip ties this time around, they’ve gotten smarter.

  3. Hi dear Jane! How are you?
    See how they took you prey, spy, hands back as if you were a criminal mw broke your heart. I know that you are strong and brave; that you give yourself body and soul to those causes that you consider fair. I know your voice rises and annoys. You say you are inspired by young environmentalists but you are their light. Your inner fire is like a tsunami that takes everything ahead. Many will learn from you right now. Some time ago you wrote about “FAME”, which was not important. At that time I wrote you in my mother tongue, Spanish, and you answered “how I would like to understand what you say”. I almost died of emotion so I used the translator as now and I replied “wishing you would return to the post” !!! It wasn’t like that, but I’m going to tell you something. Fame is important when you surf the wave and don’t fall. You have the strength of Grace and Frankie and your last name but, most importantly, it is your way of hanging towards others. As far as I’m concerned, I love the actress but I love and admire your activism more. You never decay You are pure and “renewable energy!” You are an example of struggle and dedication, of resistance and resilience. From my country, very far away. I follow and admire you. And I keep a dream: to know you! (I will save some pesos and continue learning English! ! 😂) I send you a warm hug and I pray for you, for your health, for your life! I love you a lot! BE CAREFUL !! 😏😊, 😍😘

  4. I think what you and all the other advocates did was amazing. It’s confusing to me that people who are only advocating for a better planet and better economy for the future are the ones getting arrested… Unlawful demonstration? Because you were protesting for positive changes and bringing awareness to crucial issues that are tearing our planet apart? I commend all of you involved for continuing to persevere through all of this and continue your acts of good and protests for change. If I lived closer (& wasn’t in grad school) I’d be there with you. I plan on attending all live-streams of firedrillfridays to learn, gain knowledge on these issues as I need to learn more, and figure out how I can make a change from where I’m from and influence others to follow in your footsteps regarding efforts to resolve our climate issues. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being you and being determined, strong-willed, and fearless. We need more people like you and the group of activists with you in this world to understand the issues of climate change without ignorance. I feel like that’s the biggest issue; people are ignorant of realizing climate change is dire and just because people have been living on this earth for thousands of years, doesn’t mean we have that much longer at the rate we’re going. Bear Grylls is a good source of knowledge for climate change as well! He did a show with President Obama a few years back explaining the need for change. Keep up the good work! Sending positive vibes your way and wishing you all the best out there! Please be safe and I’m hoping no one gets punished by the criminal justice system with jail time for only wanting to make positive changes for our planet and economy. (I watched your video about your choice to move to D.C. after reading Naomi Klein’s new book, “On Fire: The {Burning} Case for a Green New Deal.” and plan on buying it soon to read! I’m hoping to get to it over winter break when I’m not overwhelmed with grad school work for my PhD).
    Best of luck,

  5. Jane, I am so inspired by your activism and also the student strikers. Much pike you, I am reading Naomi’s book and it is very troubling, but also very important to find out what is actually happening to our climate. As a 15 year old, activist like you are inspiring me everyday to stand up for what I believe in and to find out the truth and put ourselves on the line in order for the greater good! I can’t wait to meet you and Lily on October 30th in Detroit. I also admire the work lily does for Voice For The Animals. I very much look forward to watching the live teach-ins on Facebook and I look forward to becoming more involved in activism and educating myself about current situations. -Kennedy

  6. Hi Jane!

    You go, Jane!! It’s absolutely brilliant what you’re doing. You have already attracted the world’s attention to this issue within your first two weeks like no other can.

    I’m behind you all the way. Via Social Media I will support you in any way I can. Retweeting, sharing, posting.

    I already do a lot for the environment. I already protest in Hamburg, Germany in support of Greta – Fridays for the Future as it’s called here!
    Can you believe the negativity she’s experiencing? Horrific!) And if I’m ever in DC I will come and join you.


  7. Handcuffs? Seriously?

    Congratulations to the brave American activists for real change and reform on climate !

    Only a small number of huge investment funds control a big proportion in fossil fuels –

  8. When I saw that you had been arrested on the steps of the capitol building I immediately smiled. The publicity this made was perfect. It is so in your blood to protest and I love it! This is the Jane I love, respect, and admire. Thank you for helping lead the fight on such an extremely important crisis. I will tune in on Thursdays at 7:00 to hear the teach-ins. Of course, I would also love to join the fight on the front-lines. I will check out more of the details. May I ask you a question? Why were you arrested? Was it because you are not allowed to protest on the steps of the capitol?

  9. Jane, I understand the importance of what you do and I admire you a lot but I miss you anyway on the blog, I have to tell you😢😢

  10. Well done! You continue to inspire us all to stand up for what we believe to be right. Your warrior spirit is contagious. Thank you for all you do for the good of humankind.

  11. I published this article in Nation of Change about the launch and the events thereafter. There will be a followup.
    I would love to have a more direct way of sending you a copy.

  12. Jane, you’re on your way to Bertrand Russell’s peaceful resistance record when he was 90-something.

  13. Ah Jane, you leave me speechless. I will buy the book and share it. Already have emailed all the book club to see all this on your blog. I so want to join this in some physical strong-like-you way, but wonder how long I would manage in jail without my meds, my CPAP, with my stiff arthritic body. But you did it, do it etc. Oh I wish I had been one of your exercise followers. I think radically. I’m aware but I have been more moderate in voting, trying to figure what will sell on the whole while moving the dial slowly toward what needs to be done. This house afire approach does really challenge me to follow the more radical choice. Dare I hope that Warren could make it? Can we focus on the most important issue of our life, when all the other needs are used to distract us? I want Universal care for all Americans not just Medicare. I want dental care as part of that total care. I want a livable wage for every family. Fair wages. If no one candidate has the right package but does this one most important earth-home-on-fire approach, can we keep the focus on that? Maybe, with more people like you. Well, maybe I’m not speechless, but I am still just in total awe of you. Dona

  14. Jane, I wrote much of the climate dystopian epic “Man Shall Follow” during the days I visited my friend Bruce who lived immediately to the south of you on the ridge above Santa Barbara. I performed the Sound Cloud version in 1986 when there was still hope. One of every nine doomed people who listened to it have downloaded it over the past 6 years.
    Rick Masters

  15. Hello Jane, I respect what you do for other people. I follow your blog and your social media from Germany every single day. It would be nice in spite of everything to hear from you again 😊 I send you greetings from Germany and all the best for you. xxx Barbara

  16. Hi Jane, I hope u r well. I’m glad you are an advocate for our population and planet. I wrote you a letter and posted it on your FB timeline photo where you are pic’d with Mr T Turner and another gentleman. Please take a moment to read it. I’m reaching out to you because I’m launching a project that provides consolidated services that include green housing and office space for seniors and healthcare/wellness providers respectively, bridges the social gap between youth and seniors through a volunteer beneficence program and disrupts the wasteful practices of our current healthcare system, urban planners, consumers…by cutting costs all of the way around and vastly reducing reliance on fossil fuel energy. I’d like to match or improve on the Bullitt Centre – Seattle- accomplishment : energy usage of 32 kWh/square meter and feeding so much more energy back into the grid. Mr Turner was my first point of contact. In my research this morning I was saddened to find out about the LB Dem diagnosis. Im requesting your audience as well since you are a vested member of the global conservation movement. On a side note- We need to set a standard here in Atlanta- home of Turner Enterprises and Turner Foundation. This project is to launch right here in metro Atlanta. I need your expertise and accumulated wisdom. Together we can set the precedence here and abroad and totally disrupt wastefulness and neglect of our people and planet.

  17. I emailed Senator Patty Murray just now. Here’s basically what I said; Dear Senator Murray, As your constituent, I want you to know that while I may not be getting arrested on Fridays in protest on the Capitol steps, I do entirely stand with & support Jane Fonda in her support of the Green New Deal. I am a liberal Democrat who has supported Gregoire, Cantwell and you in all aspects including by vote. I now realize that being moderate in voting in this issue is not enough. I appreciate what you have done but am now asking that in this issue you be as radical as it takes to get us off fossil fuel. As an elder with no children or grandchildren, I could close my eyes and exit easily except my heart has always seen your children as my children, and your grandchildren as well. So I recycle for them, I make change for them, and I beg for them. Please use all the knowledge and power that you have garnered with our support and lead us to change away from fossil fuel. Sincerely, Dona

  18. Jane, So I have repeated a version of the above message to both Cantwell and Heck. If you see something that needs revision, I hope you says so.
    Now to the debates. I’m going to throw some money towards Klobuchar. I know she is not saying a strong support for GND with “aspirational” language, but I think she will go there. I want to keep her in the race.
    Second, I was SO PLEASED that no sooner did I message you that I was looking for you on Amanpour and there you were! YEEAAH! You did very well. I loved the that way you answered the question you WANTED asked, not the old hash of Vietnam. Good going. You side stepped much better than Elizabeth Warren. She could learn a thing from you. And she will need to before the next debate. I expected better from Christiann than repeating the old ruts of other journalists.
    I think it is interesting that politicians like Biden say as Americans we can set our will to do something and do it. So take that thought and apply it to GND. Going to the moon sounded radical back in the day but we got it done. GND is far more important than having gone to the moon. It’s the survival of all species, including ours, and the planet. All we need to do is our part as Americans in partnership WITH the rest of the world. We will not all be moving to outer space in 20 years. Let’s ask the 1% if that’s really appealing to them. Maybe a fun vacation, but for the rest of their lives? Anyone with claustrophobia want to wear a whole head-mask to breathe the rest of your life, let alone all of the other basic functions with a space uniform? You burn it, you lost it. Gone for good. No returns walks down memory lane. Enough. Dona

  19. Go Jane!!!! So proud of everything you’re doing! You inspire all of us.

    Also, side note – I know Vasser isn’t related to you (biologically) but I find she looks a lot like you lol

  20. I’m so happy you mentioned your plan to NOT buy any more clothes. If icons such as yourself can show the world that fast fashion is a disaster, perhaps young women will boycott the wasteful purchase of stupid “stuff.”

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