ITHACA, N.Y. — Climate activists once again came together this week to rally for the passage of the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA), a corporate emissions tax bill. On Tuesday, May 18 representatives from Climate Justice Cornell (CJC), Sunrise Ithaca, Our Climate, the Ithaca High School Green Team and Tompkins Mothers Out Front came together with government officials to show their support.     

One of those officials was Assemblymember Anna Kelles, a cosponsor of the CCIA bill, which is on the table in both the state senate and assembly.

“Now is the time to make this solution happen,” Kelles said during a speech at the event.

This is the second time in a little more than a month that activists have come together with Kelles to support the legislation. In April,  almost 40 local climate activists joined Assemblymember Kelles outside her East Court Street office to rally for the CCIA. Now is crunch time for the act –– legislative session for NYS assembly adjourns in June.  

In addition to Kelles, other speakers included a score of young activists, many of whom had a hand in organizing the event itself.

“Lets keep in mind that the CCIA is just a start. This bill will move us one step closer to a greater societal change. The CCIA is something that we need,” said Eden Lewis, a sophomore at IHS and member of the group Our Climate. “It’s time for us to be resilient and not succumb to the greater and greater profit of these large corporations.”

Another speaker, looking to preserve the environment for youth like Lewis, was Merrill Hurst from Tompkins Mothers Out Front –– a group inspired by the idea of preserving the planet for future generations. Hurst was surrounded by her granddaughters on stage, Natalie, 8 years-old, Edith, 7 and a half years-old and Lilly, four and a half years-old –– all who said they love playing outside.

“These people are the reason I became a climate activist,” Hurst said.

The other government official to join the afternoon rally was Ithaca’s Director of Sustainability Luis Aguirre-Torres, who highlighted the importance of youth voices within the movement.

“You are doing all the work to turn this place into a much much better place,” he said.

The rally Tuesday was one of several across the state, during which organizers in Long Island, Ithaca, Albany, Westchester, Buffalo, and New York City also called for the passage of the New York Climate and Community Investment Act (S4264A).

To read the bill in its entirety and find out more about what activists are asking for, click here.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at