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Utahns among those arrested for disrupting U.S. Congress

by Jesse Fruhwirth
- Posted // 2011-04-15 -

Utahns who are in Washington D.C. for the Power Shift activist conference pushing green energy say that Utahns Deb Henry and Steve Liptay were among nine activists arrested for disrupting the U.S. House of Representatives today.

Activist Ashley Anderson posted a press release on Peaceful Uprising's website, which states:

Nine climate activists in Washington D.C. to attend the Power Shift 2011 conference on clean energy are currently in police custody, after disrupting a House of Representatives session. The activists introduced chaos into the House by standing up and singing a revised version of the national anthem, whose lyrics included “If you represent me, not the fossil fuel industry, you must stop wasting time chasing your dollar signs” to the tune of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Salt Lake City's Flora Bernard, also in Washington D.C. with Peaceful Uprising, says her organization did not plan the action, but Deb Henry and Steve Liptay, two Peaceful Uprising members, did take part and are currently detained. "These kids from the New England region started planning this awhile back. ... They read something that [Peaceful Uprising founder] Tim [DeChristopher] posted, and contacted him, but he can't really do anything to plan any stuff like that because he's awaiting sentencing, so he passed it to me."

Bernard linked to a blog post on her Twitter feed, showing the altered lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner that the activists sang.

"Oh why can't you see
It's my life that's at stake
When you sell out our world
You are stealing my future
Can you look in my eyes
As you gamble our lives
When will you stop the lies
So that we can survive?
If you represent me
Not the fossil fuel industry
You must stop wasting time
Chasing your dollar signs
Oh, say will you listen to
Our generation
If you refuse to hear us now
Then we have to shut you down"

So, what was the point? Bernard says many in the youth movement have become disillusioned with traditional "lobby days" and how unresponsive lawmakers are to their cause and thus were looking for something bolder. Bernard: "[It was to encourage activists] to take risks, to be willing to sacrifice, because that's what it's going to take to get the change we need."

It's expected the activists will only receive citations and a fine, Bernard says.

Henry is running to be state Democratic Party vice chair against former Salt Lake County councilwoman Jenny Wilson and Summit County Democratic Party member Tanya Knauer.

Watch the video at CSPAN here.

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Posted // April 17,2011 at 12:33

Al Gore at Power Shift: "We need to change the laws... change the policies.... Political will is a renewable resource." He didn't say "break the laws" to gain short-term celebrity or raise money. He didn't say "hijack a bus full of students" to make a statement. "Peace Up" feels more like the corporate bad guys: short-term profiteers without a long-range vision. Al Gore, yes. Peace Up, no! Deb Henry missed the memo about vision. It's not about YOU. It's about WE. Listen to the people who already know suffering: (African proverb)"If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. WE've (all of us) got to go far quickly: change laws & policies... THAT's vision. Not getting arrested in Washington or being a celebrity at the NY & Telluride film festivals. John Muir did more good in the Sierras & sharing his vision with his writing than any Trustafarian enviro.


Posted // April 17,2011 at 12:17

Deb and Steve - THANK YOU for speaking for many.


Posted // April 15,2011 at 16:42

This is what happens when people feel they aren't being represented by their so-called representatives. Good for Peaceful Uprising.


Posted // April 15,2011 at 15:57

Say goodbye to the state democratic party vice chair position :( I wanted you to win.