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. 350 provided critical support for the action, with additional support from the Energy Action Coalition and others. The Will Steger Foundation has been following the evolution of this event and was able to facilitate productive dialog between youth leaders from different corners of the youth climate movement on equity issues that arose during the planning process.
From the Energy Action Coalition:
It shouldn’t have had to come to this.
Today, 398 students locked themselves to the White House fence and remained there for over 5 hours, boldly singing and chanting as, one-by-one, the DC Park Police took them away.
Their message was clear: we are the generation that elected President Obama, and if he doesn’t stop the Keystone XL pipeline we will be the generation that holds him accountable.
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The action was amazing, but what struck me most were the words from a Michigan activist named Chris Wahmhoff: “The power is not in that building, it’s out here, it’s us!”
Chris couldn’t be more right. While President Obama wields a lot of power, the true power comes from our movement’s persistence, dedication and organizing.
This action was completely youth-led; it was organized by students from campuses as far flung as Columbia, Tulane, Smith, University of Minnesota and on and on. This group of students had a vision and they went for it — and today’s action blew us all away.
This is your moment to lead. This is your moment to take this amazing energy and escalation back home. We are a generation of much dissent — and with hopes yet for our future.
Let’s keep this up. Keep us posted on how we can help, and we’ll do the same.
Tar Sands Organizer
Energy Action Coalition
Energy Action Coalition is a youth-led coalition of 50 organizations working together to fight for a clean, just and renewable energy future. For a list of Energy Action Coalition partners, please visit our Energy Action Partners page.