This post was written by Ryan Thomson, who led the organizing for the Raleigh Rally. To join him and thousands of others to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, sign up here: www.tarsandsaction.org/next-steps
In one of the largest rallies on NC State’s campus in a decade; students and citizens alike assembled to join the international movement opposing the Keystone XL pipeline. Given the incessant apathy that characterizes the NCSU student body, this rally was something out of the ordinary.
Those who participated considered the demonstration a success before it was even over simply because our ability to energize discussion and overcome the tradition of disinterest. We found allies amongst Organizing for America Campaigners and other student organizations alike. The spread of knowledge amongst the thousands attending Obama’s speech took a international issue and made it locally pertinent. We avoided an oppositional appearance and made it clear that we do not oppose the President, rather we support him in keeping his promise to end the ongoing tyranny of oil.
And in a truly ‘goosebump’ moment, we converged with our social justice counterpart and held a common rally shortly before the president arrived. Our ecological justice message opposing the Tar Sands in many ways mirrored their demand to pass the Dream Act and extend civil rights. Our chants synchronized into a common message “Yes We Can… Stop the Pipeline. Yes We Can… Pass the Dream Act.” Although our messages where completely independent of one another, social and environmental justice organizations found energy and support from one another while increasing press coverage. As a attending Professor put it “I don’t know how we did it, but we finally did it well.”
Nothing like this in all my years at NCSU has such a rally occurred. September 14 outside Reynolds Colliseum shall be remembered as the day Obama came to Raleigh and gave students the opportunity to finally stand up.
Through our efforts we made it clearly apparent, NC opposes the Keystone XL pipeline.