Tuesday night’s weekly protest outside TD Bank in downtown Providence took place in the pouring rain, but seven of the protesters split from the group outside the bank to visit Senator Sheldon Whitehouse‘s office, which is right across the street.
TD Bank is one of the many financial companies providing loans to the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a fossil fuel monster that has been planned to be built through tribal lands. Peaceful protesters trying to stop the desecration of their lands have been brutally treated. So far, climate champion Sheldon Whitehouse has been silent on DAPL. With that in mind, Nick Katkevich of the FANG Collective led six of the protesters across the street for an impromptu meeting.
At the meeting Katkevich laid out the case against DAPL to one of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s staffers, who did not want to appear on film and would not allow any recording of the meeting.
Katkevich said that Whitehouse should have come out against DAPL a long time ago. Native women are being brutalized. Treaties and human rights are being violated. Then there is the issue of climate change, an issue which Senator Whitehouse claims to be a champion on. The Senator’s refusal to take a stand, said Katkevich, is “disheartening” and “embarrassing.”
Lauren, a student from Brown University, is concerned about the human rights violations as well, but she’s also worried about carbon emissions. “We can’t really afford to burn more fossil fuels now,” she said, adding that to many of the students at Brown, Whitehouse is regarded as a climate leader and hero.
All in attendance agreed that the election of Donald Trump and the environmental mismanagement he promises requires vigorous leadership from the Senate’s climate champion, which has so far been severely lacking.
The staffer promised to follow up with the Senator’s Washington office.
Meanwhile, the protests will continue.