At noon on Sunday, March 3, 2014 I used a plastic zip-tie to lock myself onto the fence in front of the White House and remained there for nearly six hours in protest of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. Alongside me, 304 fellow young people did the same thing, while another 70 or so of us collapsed on a giant black plastic ‘oil spill’ we had created in the center of the sidewalk. Mounted park police were at the ready and began to cordon off the area as soon as we assumed our protest positions. It was very clear that we would be arrested if we stayed – and 372 of us chose to do just that. According to the yellow band still hanging from my left wrist, I was #348.
Three-hundred ninety-eight students were arrested in front of the White House this Saturday, March 2nd, after locking themselves to the fence in protest of the KXL Pipeline. XL Dissent was entirely self-organized by students on campuses across the country, including Minnesota, Michigan and other Midwest states, and drew heavily from Campus divestment coalitions.
Hello, our names are Sophia Showalter and Elayna Shapiro, and we are Steering Committee members for Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN), a program of the Will Steger Foundation, and both students at Hopkins High School. Last weekend, we had the amazing opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh to attend Power Shift, a youth environmental conference that brought over 6,000 people together for four days of workshops, speeches, and direct action.
Right around the corner, almost tangible at this point, is an opportunity to amplify the work of young pioneers wrestling with climate issues and to empower thousands more leaders to incubate a stronger, healthier, more equitable future. For our country and the planet, it really can’t come soon enough.
The Will Steger Foundation was a proud partner in the Forward on Climate rally held in Washington DC on Feb 2013. We sent four delegates from our YEA! MN high school program, including this blog’s author, with the unwavering belief that even youth too young to vote have a powerful role to play in the climate movement.
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