EQATer JOINS 50 CLIMATE ACTIVISTS TO COMMIT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
In a dramatic prelude to this Sunday’s Forward on Climate Rally at the White House, Philadelphia Quaker Eileen Flanagan of Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) will risk arrest along with 50 environmental, civil rights, and community leaders from across the country, who join together for a historic display of civil disobedience at the White House, where they demand that President Obama deny the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and address the climate crisis.
Flanagan stands with such notable leaders as Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; Bill McKibben, Founder of 350.org; Julian Bond, former president of the NAACP; Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. Director of Hip Hop Caucus, and Daryl Hannah, actress.
The activists will block a main thoroughfare in front of the White House and, refusing to move, expect to be arrested and transported to Anacostia for processing by the DC Police Department.
Flanagan, 50, is an East Falls mother of two teenagers and was motivated by them to take action.
”As I explained to my children, I’m willing to risk arrest for the first time in my life for them and for the future of all children—from Alberta to Appalachia to Africa. The urgency of climate change hit home when I visited southern Africa and heard how food production has been devastated by new and unpredictable weather patterns. I am now convinced that the most important thing I can do as a citizen of the United States is to stop extreme extraction here. Earth Quaker Action Team is campaigning to get PNC Bank to stop funding mountaintop removal coal mining, and we are proud to stand with our allies fighting the Keystone XL pipeline, which is another example of the reckless resource grab that threatens us all.”
Civil disobedience is the response of ordinary people to extraordinary injustices. “American Quakers have historically been at the forefront of civil and human rights issues, and climate change is no exception,” explains EQAT executive director Amy Ward Brimmer. “Spurred by our moral conscience and sense of shared responsibility to help right the wrongs of our society – slavery, child labor, suffrage, segregation, marriage equality and immigrant rights, to name just a few – we have a tradition of engagement in creative nonviolent resistance. Climate change threatens the health and security of all Americans, and action proportional to the problem is required–now.
The full list of participants, along with photos and bios, is available at tarsandsaction.org
The participants risking arrest have released the following letter to explain their collective action.
“We’re here today to show the depth of our resolve that President Obama take immediate, decisive action against climate change—to show that if the president leads, the vast majority of Americans will rally behind him. We’re not here today to protest the president, we are here to encourage and support him. We lived through horrors of Superstorm Sandy, the Midwest drought, wildfires, and the hottest year on record: we know in our bones that the time has come to do more than we have, and all that we can.
“The president can’t work miracles by himself. An obstructionist Congress stands in the way of progress and innovation. But President Obama has the executive authority and the mandate from the American people to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, and to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline right now.
“And we’re here to show something else—that the movement for a clean energy revolution is a broad and powerful one. In 2011 we were moved by the 1,253 Americans who went jail to protest Keystone in the biggest civil disobedience action in many years in this country. Today we are 50 people at the White House representing millions of Americans in every state, in every community. Today we risk arrest because a global crisis unfolds before our eyes. We have the solutions to this climate crisis. We have a moral obligation to stand stand for immediate, bold action to solve climate disruption. We can do it, and we will.”
Earth Quaker Action Team is one of 120 official sponsors of the upcoming Presidents Day Action and will bring 300 participants from Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to march Sunday February 17 in what is expected to be the largest climate rally in U.S. History.