If the police thought that they would discourage more Americans from taking part in the sit-ins at the White House by keeping Bill McKibben and Saturday’s participants in jail, they were completely wrong. Another group of over 70 people gathered in Lafeyette Square Park today. 45 of them were arrested for the second day of sit-ins at the White House.
“Saturday’s arrests and overnight jailings are already lighting a fire,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who was also arrested Saturday. “More people are now inspired, determined, and committed to join. On Monday alone over 20 DC-area doctors, lawyers and students will be going to jail to chant, sing, and stop the pipeline. They’ll be joining Nebraska ranchers and others nationwide. Word is spreading.”
Earlier this summer, a young man named Tim DeChristopher was sentenced for two years in jail for disrupting the sale of federal land for oil and gas drilling. He and his allies in Utah spoke of the need for “joy and resolve,” both in the face of the climate crisis and in specific situations like civil disobedience.
I think the words “joy and resolve” describe the look on the face of the young woman in the photo above. When asked how they felt risking arrest this morning, especially after the escalation of threats by the police, many people said “proud” and “patriotic.” From Henry David Thoreau to Martin Luther King, Jr., civil disobedience has been a great American tradition. It is an honor to stand and work with those 45 people today and the many more tomorrow who are making that tradition a living, breathing reality.