I wasn’t always an environmental activist. I had been a healthcare activist and LGBT activist before being asked to be a trainer at this thing called Power Shift2011. I had no idea what it was. I always picked up trash on the ground and recycled as much as I could, but didn’t know that there was a movement of youth activists around the nation working together to eliminate coal plants oncampuses, ban fracking in their states and working for green fees. I hesitantly said yes to travel to Chicago with people I had never met before.
Yesterday, my friend Ken and I attended an Obama Campaign fundraiser in St. Louis. But we didn’t go there with any ordinary mission. We went to make sure our generation’s demand that President Obama reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was heard.
After waiting over an hour, and with hundreds rallying outside, President Obama took the stage. As he began his speech, Ken and I prepared for our intervention. I unwrapped my shawl, and Ken opened his jacket, which both had our message clearly inscribed “President Obama: Veto the Keystone XL pipeline.”
After President Obama spoke about leaving a better future for our children, we seized the pause and asked “will you veto the Keystone XL pipeline?” Obama didn’t directly respond, but acknowledged us a few minutes later when saying “we’ve got a couple of people here who are concerned about the environment.” Yesterday, we were heard.