On November 5th and 6th, approximately 12,000 people participated in a peaceful demonstration in Washington, D.C. to protest the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline including a ‘Hands Around the White House Demonstration.’
The weekend of action began on Saturday, November 5th, with a Tar Sands Action meeting held at All Souls DC. Logistics were finalized, regional break-out groups formed to discuss future planning, chants were taught, and a short film about tar sands was shown.
Sunday, November 6th was a beautiful day in Washington, DC – made all the more lovely when approximately twelve thousand people arrived for the demonstration. (Organizers had initially anticipated five to six thousand!) The circle around the perimeter of the White House was three-to-four people deep.
UUA Witness Ministries Director Craig C. Roshaven joined Witness Ministries Program Associate Kat Liu and Environmental Stewardship Manager Robin Nelson in urging UUs to attend the DC demonstration. UUAstaff connected with 63 UUs who were at the rally/demonstration (more later identified themselves as there but unable to find the group due to the overwhelming size of the crowd!)
Solidarity events were held across the country as well.
Beginning with non-violent civil disobedience — which included standing and sitting in front of the White House — 1,253 protesters were arrested over two weeks including celebrities like Daryl Hannah and Margot Kidder. Climate Scientists Bill McKibben and James Hansen also put their bodies on the line to persuade the President to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. UU World reported that 15 UUs were arrested on the designated interfaith day and many more were arrested on other dates.
While the arrests were making some headlines, organizers grew concerned when Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted that he hadn’t even briefed the President on the campaign. As a result, efforts increased with local organizing in affected communities as well as attendance at “Public Meetings following the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline” across the country (along the route of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline).
Many elected officials, activists, artists and celebrities have come out against the Keystone XL Pipeline including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE), Governor Dave Heineman (NE); Former Vice President Al Gore; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; His Holiness the Dalai Lama; Van Jones, Robert Redford, and Ogalala Vice President Tom Poor Bear.
Let us know about your participation in ‘Hands Around the White House’ or a solidarity event you attended by emailing Rnelson@uua.org or commenting below.