Over 100 climate activists gathered downtown on Tuesday evening (September 13) as part of a national day of action aimed at convincing President Obama to put a stop to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
If built, the $3.8 billion pipeline would carry oil mined via the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing from North Dakota through four states. It would also cross underneath the Missouri River just upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation, where other tribes and supporters from across the country have flocked in protest of ongoing construction that's already led to bulldozers unearthing sacred burial grounds.
"We're here in solidarity with native leaders in North Dakota who are working to block the pipeline," said Masada Disenhouse, an organizer with SanDiego350 (350.org groups nationwide organized approximately 180 events on Tuesday). "They're worried about threats to their water, to the planet, and to their land rights. We're calling on President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline the same way he did the Keystone XL Pipeline."
At an earlier event in Washington DC, crowds were greeted by onetime presidential-hopeful and senator Bernie Sanders, who urged Obama to shut down construction.
Chula Vista resident Gina Tiger-Madueno, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux/Hunkpapa Lakota who plans to join a caravan to the reservation next week, addressed the crowd before soliciting donations to provide supplies to those already occupying the pipeline's intended path.
"This fight is far from over — today they arrested 22 people," Tiger-Madueno told the crowd to a chorus of boos. "This is a big issue, and it's an issue for all of us. It's not a Standing Rock issue, it's not a native issue, it's an issue for all of us as humans. We are not protesters, we are protectors."