Post written by Stephanie Thomas:

On April 9th over 75 people gathered together in Houston, TX, to greet President Obama as his motorcade left a fundraiser for Democrats. We came with a purpose: to tell him to stop deportations and stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. Community members met at a busy Houston intersection at rush hour, and then we walked through the posh neighborhood of River Oaks to meet Obama with our signs and chants.

This rally brought together a variety of groups representing both immigrant rights and climate and environmental justice. Groups represented included Texas Undocumented Youth Alliance, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.), Houstonians Against Tar Sands, Houston NoKXL and 350.org, among others.

Walking through River Oaks, I felt a deep sense of pride in myself and those joining the protest. Here in Houston, one of the major centers of the fossil fuel industry, we offered ourselves up with our message that our continued dependence on fossil fuels is unacceptable and dirty tar sands will not be tolerated.

And the issues of deportation and the Keystone XL pipeline are not separate. As our society burns up more and more fossil fuels, we increase atmospheric CO2 and impact the climate system. Droughts, flooding, and other climate-induced natural disasters, as well as disasters caused by natural resource extraction and militarism, are bringing more and more people to the United States, to which our president has responded by increasing the number of deportations, with this administration reaching now over 2 million. Deportations divide our families: fathers and mothers separated from their partners and their children, brothers and sisters, cousins…people are being torn from their network of support, creating deep trauma in communities, done as part of a political bargaining chip.    

One participant called his cousin via cellphone to share the gathering with her. She had been deported only days before the rally. The suffering caused by the separation of families through deportations was made painfully visible as he expressed his anger and frustration to the crowd.

In Texas, the southern Keystone XL pipeline has already begun to flow crude and construction is underway to build a lateral pipeline to connect refineries in Houston with the southern Keystone XL. If the northern Keystone XL pipeline is approved and built, even more dirty tar sands oil will be brought to the Houston area. Many times, the same communities already dealing with issues such as deportation must deal also with environmental pollution and air quality issues. The Keystone XL pipeline puts already vulnerable communities at an even greater risk of disease.

As the evening went on, we called upon President Obama: “Stop deportations! Stop the Keystone XL pipeline!” And as we continued, we chanted: “Deport the pipeline!”

April 2nd, 2014: Chicago, IL

By JC Kibbey

Six years ago, fighting for what I believed in meant knocking on doors in the cold to help a freshman senator named Barack Obama become President.

Yesterday, it meant standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a fired-up crowd of activists to demand that President Obama keep his word on climate change. Building the Keystone XL pipeline would mean breaking his promise to slow the rise of the oceans – a promise that kept a lot of us going through the late nights and long hours it took to get him where he is. 

Last night we reminded him that we haven’t forgotten that promise.

There were a few dozen of us crowded on the narrow sidewalk along Fullerton when I got there early in the night, and the air was starting to bite. Fortunately, Chicagoans are a hardy breed, and more and more of us kept coming. First we covered a full storefront – soon there were hundreds of us packing two full blocks with people and signs.

I saw some old friends, made some new ones, and stood beside passionate people of all colors and ages. Between the group of ladies my grandmother’s age with the contagious smiles, the college guys with the #NOKXL version of Mount Rushmore, and the kid chanting (loud!) from her perch in a tree, there was a lot of energy and it kept ramping up as the night went on.

After a few false starts, the presidential motorcade finally rolled through, all flashing lights and black SUVs, and the fire we’d been building all night came out at the top of our lungs: Hey Obama, yes you can/ Stop this dirty pipeline plan! The news cameras could hear us over all the sirens, and I know the President could too.

Keystone XL will help define Obama’s legacy. We hope that the people who came together last night in his adopted hometown will remind him where he came from and what he stands for. We hope he will keep his promise and do the right thing by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and protecting our air, our water, and our communities.

And until he does that, we’ll keep asking.

March 20, 2014- Miami, Florida

Dozens of activists from 350 South Florida, 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, CREDO, and more gathered in Miami to greet President Obama as he fundraised at former NBA star Alonzo Mourning’s home. Their message was loud and clear- No Keystone XL. They dressed up as sea creatures to illustrate what Florida will look like if the President does not take climate change seriously. 

Great coverage here: http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2014/03/pipeline_notes_no_publishhh.php

NBC Coverage: http://www.nbcmiami.com/multimedia/Obama-Lands-in-Miami-for-Fundraiser-at-Alonzo-Mourning_s-Home_Miami-251318031.html

Univision Coverage: http://miami.univision.com/videos/video/2014-03-20/reciben-a-obama-con-reclamos-y-protestas

March 11, 2014- NYC Says No Keystone XL!

With 24 notice, over 150 New Yorkers gathered at a high price DNC fundraiser to tell the President No Keystone XL! The crowd was loud and mighty and included students from the XL Dissent rally in DC a week and a half before. 

March 8, 2014: Dozens gather outside the DC Gridiron Dinner to tell Secretary Kerry: No Keystone XL! 
Hundreds of members of the elite media came together for the annual DC Gridiron Dinner on Saturday. Secretary Kerry spoke as the keynote speakers, so we made sure to show up in force to let him know he needs to stop this pipeline of mass destruction!

March 8, 2014: Dozens gather outside the DC Gridiron Dinner to tell Secretary Kerry: No Keystone XL! 

Hundreds of members of the elite media came together for the annual DC Gridiron Dinner on Saturday. Secretary Kerry spoke as the keynote speakers, so we made sure to show up in force to let him know he needs to stop this pipeline of mass destruction!

March 5, 2014: Central Connecticut State University

Dozens gather outside of President Obama’s speech to say no the Keystone XL Pipeline and No to Fracking. 

http://www.wfsb.com/story/24889021/protests-scheduled-during-presidential-visit-to-ccsu



March 5, 2014- BOSTON - Just three days after the historic youth-led action at the White House where 372 were arrested, Boston area climate justice activists met President Obama outside a $5,000 and up (way up) fundraising dinner. Our message to the President was clear as we chanted: “One, we are the people. Two, we are united. Three, we will not you build this pipeline.” Another telling cry: “Hey, Barack, you’ve talked the talk now walk the walk.” The President’s rhetoric on climate—like his rhetoric on jobs, health care, war and peace, and civil liberties—has been inconsistent with his administration’s policies. On the climate front, his “all-of-the-above” energy (non-)strategy continues to dampen my generation’s future prospects; for front-line communities and the poorest around the globe, Obama’s cowardliness in the face of the fossil fuel juggernaut represents a morally bankrupt and outright hostile position. Rejecting Keystone, itself only one arrow in the juggernaut’s deadly quiver, would signal the President is ready to match his rhetoric with action. For real leadership, the President should also ensure the EPA’s forthcoming proposed regulations of existing power plants (“New Source Performance Standards”) are stringent enough to pave the way for an end to deadly coal in this country; of course, former coal workers will need a just transition, and the President needs to make sure that happens. Such is the leadership we need ahead of the 2015 Conference of Parties climate meeting in Paris where a binding and equitable global deal is an absolute must. Climate justice activists will continue to follow the President everywhere we can as lives are literally on the line, and the hour is late. Will you lead, Mr. President?


Bobby Wengronowitz, XL Dissent arrestee 186, @bobbywego, Co-founder Boston College Fossil Free, Ph.D. student in sociology at Boston College
March 5, 2014- BOSTON - Just three days after the historic youth-led action at the White House where 372 were arrested, Boston area climate justice activists met President Obama outside a $5,000 and up (way up) fundraising dinner. Our message to the President was clear as we chanted: “One, we are the people. Two, we are united. Three, we will not you build this pipeline.” Another telling cry: “Hey, Barack, you’ve talked the talk now walk the walk.” The President’s rhetoric on climate—like his rhetoric on jobs, health care, war and peace, and civil liberties—has been inconsistent with his administration’s policies. On the climate front, his “all-of-the-above” energy (non-)strategy continues to dampen my generation’s future prospects; for front-line communities and the poorest around the globe, Obama’s cowardliness in the face of the fossil fuel juggernaut represents a morally bankrupt and outright hostile position. Rejecting Keystone, itself only one arrow in the juggernaut’s deadly quiver, would signal the President is ready to match his rhetoric with action. For real leadership, the President should also ensure the EPA’s forthcoming proposed regulations of existing power plants (“New Source Performance Standards”) are stringent enough to pave the way for an end to deadly coal in this country; of course, former coal workers will need a just transition, and the President needs to make sure that happens. Such is the leadership we need ahead of the 2015 Conference of Parties climate meeting in Paris where a binding and equitable global deal is an absolute must. Climate justice activists will continue to follow the President everywhere we can as lives are literally on the line, and the hour is late. Will you lead, Mr. President?

Bobby Wengronowitz, XL Dissent arrestee 186, @bobbywego, Co-founder Boston College Fossil Free, Ph.D. student in sociology at Boston College

March 2-Washington, DC

Hundreds of students traveled to DC last weekend to show their resistance to the KXL Pipeline, and push President Obama to reject it’s permit.  Students and young people organized a weekend of resistance starting with a Fossil Fuel divestment convergence and Direct action training on Saturday, and on Sunday, a march from Georgetown University to the White House.  Activists stopped at Secretary Kerry’s house and left him a message, then continued to Lafayette Park, where speakers from Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands, Earth Guardians, First Nation indigenous leaders, and more spoke about resistance tar sands and Keystone XL. Following the rousing speeches, 398 people risked arrest by forming a human oil spill and locking themselves to the White House.  For more information, check out these articles and blogs, and find more pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xldissent/

Photo Credit: Zakee Kuduro, Kristina Banks, Associated Press, Graham Boyle

#IlluminateDC: We Lit Up the State Dept and the EPA!

other98:

On Thursday, March 6th, The Other 98% teamed up with light projection artists to shine messages protesting the Keystone XL pipeline directly onto the U.S. State Department. Using “The Illuminator,” a large-scale, high-intensity projector, we projected comments from ordinary Americans asking Secretary of State John Kerry to reject Keystone XL.

We were joined by local climate activists from 350.org, Fossil Free AU, and some really awesome concerned citizens who showed up in the bitter cold. We gathered at the Foggy Bottom Metro and took a few photos before marching to the State Dept! 

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At the State Dept, we assembled with our “NO KXL” light brites, led some chants, and did a number of speak outs against the pipeline!

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Washingtonians greet President Obama with a #NoKXL message!

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On a cold and windy Friday afternoon, DC climate activists gathered to send President Obama a message, #NoKXL.  The President was on his way to speak at a DNC fundraiser, and activists made sure he saw a clear message from his motorcade-he even gave us a wave!

This weekend, hundreds of youth will risk arrest and plan on marching on the White House in an action called #XLDissent, it is expected to be the largest amount of single day arrests in a generation. Check out more here: http://xldissent.org

Big thanks to everyone who came out, and for 350 and Energy Action Coalition for supporting!