Climate Groups to Shut Down Washington D.C. with Mass Nonviolent Act of Civil Disobedience
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2019
Washington, D.C. September 11 – Climate rebels will blockade traffic throughout the nation’s capitol to demand immediate action on global heating. On the morning of September 23, several hundred parents, students, workers, health professionals, migrant justice advocates, people of faith, trans people, college groups and peace activists will bring Washington D.C. to a standstill while Greta Thunberg and youth climate leaders speak at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City.
The growing Shut Down D.C. Strike Coalition includes 14 climate and social justice organizations that will collaborate to shut down more than a dozen key intersections across D.C. in the midst of the youth Global Climate Strike. Shut Down D.C. is hosting mass organizing meetings on September 11 and September 18 at 5:30 PM at the Friends Meeting House in downtown Washington D.C.
New York Times bestselling author Naomi Klein and the President of the Hip Hop Caucus Rev. Lennox Yearwood will open the Coalition’s mobilization meeting on September 18 with a clarion call to action. “The devastating impacts of the climate crisis are here now, harming our communities and threatening life on this planet for our kids,” said Rev. Yearwood. “For young people and our communities at the frontlines of climate change, this is simply about fighting for existence.”
The minister will be available for interviews before and during the meeting. Coalition members are hosting a full calendar of events including art builds, public talks, panel discussions, and movie screenings across the city ahead of the shut down.
“Young people around the world are cracking open the heart of the climate crisis, speaking of a deep longing for a future they thought they had but that is disappearing each day that adults fail to act on the reality that we are in an emergency,” Klein writes in her new book On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal.
The complacency ends now. Shut Down DC marks the start of a global wave of citywide shut downs in London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam and New York City on October 7.
While we demand serious and transformative action, we will also celebrate the rising tide of rebellion against climate catastrophe with games, music, food, beach balls, kiddie pools, face painting and festivities in the streets.
The blockades are being organized by a coalition of activists from different climate and social justice organizations including 198 Methods, 350 DC, Backbone Campaign, Beyond Extreme Energy, Black Lives Matter DMV, Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund, Code Pink, Extinction Rebellion DC, Friends of the Earth Action, Friends Meeting in Washington Social Concerns Committee, Labor Network for Sustainability, Metro DMV Democratic Socialists of America, Movement for a People’s Party, and Rising Tide North America.
As the September 20 youth Global Climate Strike approaches, the Shut Down D.C. spokes council is adopting and elevating the demands of the youth coalition. Shut Down D.C. agrees that to confront the climate emergency we must enact a Green New Deal, respect indigenous land and sovereignty, uphold environmental justice, protect and restore biodiversity, and implement sustainable agriculture.
Just two weeks since its August 28 launch, Shut Down DC has flourished into a citywide revolt against climate catastrophe. Visit strikedc.org/index.php/press/ for updates and previous announcements.
Washington, D.C., August 28 – Youth leaders from around the world have called for a Global Climate Strike and week of action from September 20-27. Youth have led the way so far, but now they are calling on everyone to take action alongside them. In Washington, D.C. we are answering that call in a major way: on September 23, we are going to Shut Down D.C.
While countries deliberate the fate of the world at the U.N. Action Climate Summit in New York City, a coalition of climate groups and allies will bring traffic and business as usual to a standstill in the nation’s capital. Parents, workers, students and everyone who is concerned about global heating will skip work and school and put off their other responsibilities to take action on the climate crisis.
The multi-site blockade will demand sweeping action from the U.S. Government to address the climate emergency. The event is a response to youth calls for a Global Climate Strike and will follow a student-led march to Congress on September 20. The Shut Down D.C. kickoff meeting is taking place today at 7 PM at the Friends Meeting House in Washington, D.C. near Dupont Circle. The next meeting will be on September 4 at 6:30 PM at the same place.
“[Politicians] ignore our will as voters, our rallies, our calls to action and even our pleas, so I am no longer interested in asking,” said Kathleen Brophy, who is an organizer with 350 DC. In the past, Brophy has worked with communities affected by oil extraction and witnessed the devastation it had locally. “The severity of the issue and the complete lack of response from elected officials necessitates mass civil disobedience,” she said.
The blockades are being organized by a coalition of activists from different climate and social justice organizations including Extinction Rebellion DC, 350 DC, Rising Tide North America, Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund, the Movement for a People’s Party, Backbone Campaign, Code Pink and the Friends Meeting in Washington Social Concerns Committee.
This spring, more than 1.4 million young people in 123 countries went on strike to demand that governments reverse the climate crisis. This fall, Shut Down D.C. marks the start of an international wave of citywide climate shutdowns on October 7 in London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam and New York City.
The Earth’s life support systems are failing as global heating spawns innumerable crises. Millions are facing hunger and migration as their homes sink beneath the waves and farm land turns to desert. Biodiversity is plummeting and ecosystems are breaking down as a sixth mass extinction grips the planet. The oceans are acidifying and disease vectors are expanding. The Amazon Rainforest, which produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, is ablaze and nearing a tipping point of cascading collapse. Humanity has never faced a crisis of this magnitude and only immediate and transformative change can ensure our survival.
"Our children are calling to us. We must respond,” said Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of GreenFaith, in regards to the climate strikes. Across the world, frontline communities, indigenous peoples, communities of color, and the poor are bearing the brunt of a crisis caused by fossil fuel corporations and politicians. In recognition that decades of petitions, protests and phone calls have been all but ignored by our leaders, the action will use nonviolent civil disobedience to elevate the demands to a level of urgency that matches the crisis.
This September there are over 600 events taking place worldwide in support of the Global Climate Strike, and more than 130 across the United States.