SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – A group of Bay Area kids said Saturday they’re “disappointed” with Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s response one day after their heated exchange over climate change was recorded on a cell phone and went viral.
In a statement Friday, soon after the debate, Sen. Feinstein described it as a “spirited discussion” and said she wanted the children to know “they were heard loud and clear.”
However, soon after the video was posted by Sunrise Bay Area — a group of youth dedicated to stopping the climate crisis, according to its website — Feinstein was criticized for being too harsh on the kids.
The senator is heard saying to them, “You know what’s interesting about this group? I’ve been doing this for 30 years, I know what I’m doing. You come in here and say, ‘It has to be my way or the highway.’ I don’t respond to that.”
“I’m disappointed that she didn’t listen to us as much,” said 10-year-old Jasia.
The kids said the exchange wasn’t planned. In fact, Sunrise Bay Area volunteer Zoe Cina-Sklar said they’d requested a meeting with the senator so they could ask her to co-sponsor the Green New Deal, but were told she wasn’t available this week.
They instead rallied outside her San Francisco office Friday when Feinstein happened to walk passed them, Cina-Sklar said. That’s when the group followed her up to her office.
At one point the senator asks a teen how old she is, and when the girl responds that she is 16, the senator says, “Well, you didn’t vote for me.”
“So I think though the conversation wasn’t fully what I expected it to be,” said Nadja, 15.
“She shut them down, she did not hear them,” said Cina-Sklar.
The entire exchange, however, is more than ten minutes long and in the full interaction Feinstein explains to the kids her stance, including telling them she may vote for the Green New Deal.
“The key to legislation is to tailor something that you can write so that it can pass,” Feinstein says.
When asked whether the shortened video version, edited by Sunrise Movement, is an accurate depiction of the exchange — Cina-Sklar said “absolutely.”
“If you watch the whole interaction, to me if anything, it’s more horrifying,” she said. “You see her continuing to shut the kids down.”
Feinstein is then heard telling the kids she will give them a copy of her own climate change resolution.
The kids told KPIX they are looking it over this weekend, and plan to pay Feinstein a visit again Monday to tell her directly how they feel about her resolution.
They say the meeting with the senator was unexpected, but it gave them a bigger stage than they ever imagined.
“I didn’t expect anything to go viral, but now that it has I think we should just keep advocating to get the Green New Deal,” Jasia said. “I think that’s what’s really important.”