March 1, 2014

Hundreds of Students Arriving in DC For XL Dissent Protest

Contact: Jamie Henn, [email protected], 415-890-3350

Over 1,000 expected for White House rally, more than 300 will risk arrest during sit-in

Washington, DC — Hundreds of students from nearly all 50 states began arriving in DC today for XL Dissent, a weekend of protest against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Over 1,000 students are expected to march to the White House this Sunday, where about 300 will risk arrest in a sit-in at the White House fence. The sit-in will be the largest youth-led act of civil disobedience at the White House in recent memory.

“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,” said Aly Johnson-Kurts, who is taking a gap year from Smith College to help fight the climate crisis.

This afternoon, hundreds of students will take part in a meetup to discuss the growing fossil fuel divestment movement that has spread to over 300 colleges and universities across the United States.

On Sunday morning, there will be a rally at Georgetown University, where President Obama laid out his “climate test” for the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that he would only approve the project if it did not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. Then, students will begin a march to the White House, stopping at Secretary of State Kerry’s house to urge him to recommend the President reject Keystone XL.

The march will end with a rally in Lafayette Park at 11:30am. Young people will then create a mock oil-spill in front of the White House, then sit-in down at the fence along Pennsylvania Avenue in act of civil disobedience to protest the project.

“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.”

In a recent poll, 70% of young voters said that support for action on climate change will affect who they vote for, and 73% said they’d vote against a politician who wasn’t addressing the problem. An overwhelming 80% of young people support the President taking action to address climate change, suggesting that a pipeline rejection based on climate impacts would be widely applauded.


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.