After we left, the sit-ins went on. With one day off to allow the police to deal with the emergencies arising from Hurricane Irene, the protests resumed on Monday, and each day the numbers of concerned citizens arrested at the White House grew. Groups of Indigenous Leaders from the US and from Canada came one day. Groups of ranchers from Nebraska came another day. Daryl Hannah, another movie star, kept the celebrity focus going by being arrested. An interfaith day brought ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, deacons and others together to sit down and be arrested in an effort to ask that we all be good stewards of God's creation. Groups of young people who formed the Youth for Obama movement in the last presidential election came to be arrested, to try to pressure the man they helped elect to keep his promises and to be the leader they dreamed he would be. NASA's top climate scientist, the filmmaker who made the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, as well as hundreds of ordinary citizens who simply cannot stay home and watch this disaster unfold without doing something to stop it. All came, sang, sat down and were arrested.
1,252 people altogether were arrested. About a thousand more came to rally and cheer and chant and support those who took the risk. It was the beginning of a beautiful movement to try to rein in climate change before it spirals out of control.
The next step is to take the movement home. People are going to Obama for America offices all over the country to tell the staffers that they won't volunteer, and they won't contribute, unless Obama takes a stand, for once, against the forces of pollution and destruction that he has caved in to over and over again. If you are reading this blog and you wish you could have gone to Washington, or wish you could do something more, that is something you can do.
Or you can call the White House again. Keep the pressure up.
Or, if you live in a state where the pipeline will go through, travel to your state's State Department public hearings scheduled for the end of September. These public hearings will be to accept comments on the pipeline generally, but since the State Department has already decided that the environmental risk is minimal, you are encouraged to address the question of whether the pipeline is in our national interest.
The schedule of hearings is below:
Monday Sept 26 Port Arthur, TX Bob Bowers Civic Center, 3401 Cultural Center Dr 4:30 pm
Monday Sept 26 Topeka, KS Kansas Expo Ctr, 1 Expocenter Dr 12 - 3:30 pm & 4 - 8 pm
Tues, Sept 27 Glendive, MT Dawson Comm. Coll, Toepke Aud., 300 Community Dr 4:30
Tues, Sept 27 Lincoln, NB Pershing Ctr, 226 Centennial Mall S, 12 - 3:30 pm &4-8pm
Wed, Sept 28 Austin, TX U of T, LadyBird Johnson Aud, 2313 Red River St, 12-8pm
Thurs, Sept 29 Pierre, SD Best Western Ramkota, 920 W Sioux Ave 4 - 8 pm
Thurs, Sept 29 Atkinson, NB W Holt High Sch, 100 N. Main St 4:30 - 10 pm
Fri, Sept 30 Midwest City, OK Reed Ctr Ex Hall, 5800 Will Rogers Rd, 4:30 - 10 pm
Fri, Oct 7 Washington, DC TBA
We'll be trying to get people to go to Glendive from everywhere in Montana. Meanwhile, we thank everyone who has supported and encouraged us this far, and ask that you help keep the momentum going. This is not a battle we can afford to lose.