Second Press Release:
Contact: Jamie Henn, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-890-3350
Washington, DC –As the fight over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline seems be accelerating towards a final decision, protestors are turning up the heat on President Obama to reject the project with a major, youth-led protest at the White House this weekend called “XL Dissent.”
More than 1,000 students and youth from across the country have signed up to take part in a march to the White House from Georgetown University, where President Obama laid out his “climate test” for the pipeline this summer. Once there, more than 300 youth are expected to risk arrest in a sit-in, the largest youth act of civil disobedience at the White House in a generation.
The young people represent over 50 colleges and universities and are taking action in solidarity with groups on the frontlines of dirty energy expansion and climate impacts, such as First Nations and refining communities, ranchers and farmers along the route, and those fighting tar sands expansion in Michigan and beyond.
Press are invited to interview students at the Thurgood Marshall Center on Saturday, from 1:00-4:00pm, or on Sunday at either the rally beginning at Georgetown at 10:00am or at the White House rally beginning at 11:30am.
Here is a full schedule of the weekend’s events:
Saturday, March 1
Location: Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th St NW, Washington, DC
12:00-4:00pm: Fossil Fuel Divestment Meetup
Hundreds of students from across the country will come together to share strategies and tactics for the growing fossil fuel divestment movement that has spread to over 300 colleges and universities.
5:00pm-9:00pm: Nonviolent Direct Action Training (closed to press)
Students will take part in a NVDA training to prepare for Sunday’s sit-in at the White House.
Sunday, March 2
Location: Georgetown University to Lafayette Park & White House
10:00am: Rally at Georgetown University’s Red Square to kick-off the day’s events
10:20-11:30am: March from Georgetown to Lafayette Park
The march will begin at Georgetown University, head East on O St, South on Wisconsin, East on M St., East on Penn, and East on H St. to Lafayette Park.
10:30am: Rally Outside Secretary of State John Kerry’s House
Youth will rally outside Sec. Kerry’s house on O St. with a banner that reads “Sec. Kerry: Don’t Tar Your Legacy” to push him to recommend that President Obama reject the pipeline.
11:30am-12:15pm: Rally at Lafayette Park
Speakers will include youth leaders and representatives from communities that would be impacted by the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as those on the frontlines of other dirty energy developments and the climate crisis.
12:15pm-1:00pm: White House Sit-in
At least 300 youth are expected to risk arrest in sit-in on the sidewalk in front of the White House fence.
Nick Stracco, Tulane University
Nick is a senior at Tulane University and is originally from Chicago, Illinois. He’s been a climate activist for the last 3 years and hopes to be an environmental educator (and continue his activism) after college.
Miles Goodrich, Bowdoin College
Miles is a junior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and is originally from Connecticut. He wants to become an environmental activist and strategist.
Aly Johnson-Kurts, Smith College
Aly is a would-be sophomore at Smith College who is taking a year off to fight the climate crisis as the State Divestment Organizer for 350Vermont. She is studying to be an ecological economist. Aly was born and raised in Vermont.
Maria Langholz, Macalester College
Maria is a senior at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Maria grew up in Wisconsin and hopes to work at a hospital system in Minnesota doing sustainability work after graduation.
Ori Gutin, University of Maryland
Ori is a sophomore at University of Maryland and was born in the state. He wants to be an environmental educator after graduation.
Michael Greenberg, Columbia University
Michael is a sophomore at Columbia University, has interned with organizations like 350.org and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and founded Tar Sands Students.
First Press Release:
WASHINGTON, DC – Hundreds of students and young people are expected to risk arrest in an act of civil disobedience at the White House this March 2 to pressure President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
The sit-in at the White House will be the largest act of civil disobedience by young people in the recent history of the environmental movement. The protest, known as “XL Dissent,” is meant to send a clear signal to President Obama that the base that helped elect him sees Keystone XL as a decision that will define his entire legacy.
“Obama was the first President I voted for, and I want real climate action and a rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Nick Stracco, a Senior at Tulane University. “The people that voted him into office have made it absolutely clear what we want, and that’s to reject Keystone XL.”
Keystone XL has become an iconic fight for young people across the country, many of whom are involved in local campaigns to help stop the pipeline or the broader fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has spread to over 300 universities across the United States.
“As young people, the Keystone XL pipeline assures irreversible environmental destruction,” said Aly Johnson-Kurts, who is taking a gap year from Smith College to help fight the climate crisis. “We stand in solidarity with First Nations communities and other groups on the front lines who have been fighting Tar Sands development for years, and call on President Obama to reject this pipeline to prevent climate catastrophe from defining our future.”
The “XL Dissent” protest on March 2 will begin with a march from Georgetown University to the White House. After a rally in Lafayette Square, hundreds of students and young people are expected to risk arrest at the White House fence. The day before the protest, students will meet for a non-violent direct action training and fossil fuel divestment conference.
The sit-in at the White House has been endorsed by a wide range of pipeline opponents. 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said, “As the fight to stop KXL enters its final stages, it’s truly inspiring to see young people at the forefront. This pipeline is scheduled to last 40 years – right through the prime of their lives. President Obama needs to look them in the face.”
Youth environmentalist and grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, Conor Kennedy said, “The fight to stop KXL will be one of the defining battles of our generation. A victory here will mark the close of the old carbon era, and the start of the new energy revolution—our revolution. America’s youth now have the chance to take up the torch, and light a new fire.”