Skip to main content

This weekend, Oil Change International’s newest campaigner and I joined dozens of dedicated community leaders, climate movement allies and friends, and a couple thousand new friends in a march to the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California. Our demands were simple: Stop polluting our community, wrecking our climate, and buying off our democracy.

Following a rally outside the refinery gates that included speakers ranging from the Mayor of Richmond to local activists demanding an end to Chevron’s toxic legacy, Matt and I joined 200 others in walking onto Chevron’s property and sitting in at their gates in an act of peaceful civil disobedience. Led by Richmond community members, indigenous leaders in the Idle No More movement, and other climate movement leaders, we refused to move until our demands were met or we were arrested. Amidst a beautiful series of chants, camaraderie, and touching moments of solidarity, we were arrested one-by-one for trespassing and released shortly thereafter.

<a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=702942623065165&set=a.293872007305564.89304.138121286213971&type=1&theater">Share this image!</a>
Share this image on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/...
The act of civil disobedience on Saturday in the end carried limited legal consequences, but nevertheless was a show of strength and power that I was honored to be a part of.

Collectively, we showed that we aren't afraid of sacrificing our freedom to ensure our voices are heard. We showed to Chevron and the rest of the fossil fuel industry, that we won’t be fazed by intimidation as we fight for a safer future. And we showed communities around our country and the world that we stand with them as they struggle against similarly disastrous powers that are threatening their lives and futures.

The action came almost exactly a year after a massive explosion and fire at the Chevron refinery imperiled a huge swath of Richmond and the East Bay, sending 15,000 people to the hospital. In remembrance of that day, participants carried sunflowers, which are known to help with toxic remediation.

Much was written in the lead up and after the event, and the pictures tell a powerful story. But the action left me with two thoughts in particular:

1) This movement is beautiful.

The movement pushing to leave dirty fossil fuels behind and move towards a safer climate is growing ever more diverse by the day, and its creativity never ceases to amaze me. Whether it was the children painting a giant sunflower in the street (with biodegradable paint, of course), the hundreds of gorgeous signs, or the sheer energy of the crowd, this was an event that couldn'€™t help but inspire. And the amazing thing is that the march in Richmond was just one of so many events going on all around the country seemingly everyday.

2) We're going to win.

It's hard to believe how we couldn'€™t win after a day like Saturday. Looking around, there were so many smiles in the crowd, but more importantly you could sense determination too. Every time I'€™m in a crowd like the one at the gates of Chevron in Richmond I grow even more confident that we are on the winning team. We may be facing some of the most powerful interests in the world, but looking around on Saturday I saw more than enough power and solidarity and determination than we could ever need to take those interests head on.

It'€™s going to be a long road yet, and there will be many more marches and sit-ins and, sadly, disasters like the Chevron refinery fire ahead of us, but with each day, each arrest, each march, each step, we are that much closer to seeing the movement that will bring about the change that we know is so desperately needed. Saturday was a big step among many this summer.

Originally posted to dturnbull on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS, Climate Hawks, DK GreenRoots, California politics, Kitchen Table Kibitzing, The First and The Fourth, and Gulf Watchers Group.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site