A New Symbol? The Orange Square

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This week, over 200 student activists gathered at Swarthmore College for the PowerUp! convergence, the first annual student-organized conference on fossil fuel divestment.  At the convergence, a new symbol for the divestment movement was unveiled: the orange square.  The following is from a piece by Sachie Hopkins Hayakawa, Lauren Ressler, and REInvestment member Sally Bunner, which was posted on WeArePowerShift.org.

“This afternoon, as students take action at Swarthmore College we will be wearing orange squares pinned to our chests. We have chosen to wear this symbol today in solidarity with other student power movements internationally — most notably the Quebec Student Movement.

The red square of the Quebec Student Movement draws its origins from “carrément dans le rouge,” meaning “squarely in the red,” and refers to the condition of students trapped by immense debt. The red square was embraced by the 2005 student strike in Canada and became a symbol of solidarity for the student movement globally that signifies a belief in free education. “Institutional memory is critical to cultivating a lasting student power movement with graduation an ever present reality; sharing this symbol and the story of how this has grown is deeply a part of building that”, reflects Anthony Garoufalis-Auger a student from Concordia University, in Montreal. [ . . . ]

We have chosen the color orange, rather than green, to reframe our movement’s scope as much larger than an environmental issue. This is not a single-issue movement. This is a space where environmental justice, climate justice, and economic justice have come into contact. We understand that we will not win the fight against the fossil fuel industry without confronting racism, classism, homophobia, and other systems of oppression in our movement spaces. At this convergence we have begun conversations about intersectionality and historical responsibility on an international scale. [ . . . ]”

Read the full article on WeArePowerShift.org.


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