Colin Walkes painted a stark picture for us today, asking each of us to think what it’s like to celebrate a wedding in our backyards as plumes of smoke billow in the background and black ash rains down to rest on a loved one’s white dress. Though it may seem unimaginable to some, smoke as a backdrop to daily life is a familiar reality for residents of the Glades communities south of Lake Okeechobee that can last up to eight months of each year.

Courageous local leaders have inspired a movement for justice to bring an end to sugarcane burning in favor of safer, sustainable, burn-free harvesting. We are grateful to Colin Walkes, Robert Mitchell and Patrick Ferguson for leading the charge and sharing their perspectives today. And we invite you to propel the movement by signing this new petition calling on Florida to stop sugarcane burning.

As our speakers reminded us today, it takes the will of many to inspire positive change. So speak up! Speak out! We are stronger together. Let’s make this the last burn season.

If you missed the event today, you can find the full recording below.