"That on the 23rd day of April, 2018 at 4:38 p.m. in the city of Albany, county of Albany, the defendant did intentionally, knowingly, and unlawfully commit the violation of disorderly conduct. A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when with the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof; he or she congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse.
To wit: At the above mentioned date and time, the defendant did participate in a sit in with 55 other co-defendants, in front of the entrance to the Hall of Governors on the second floor of the New York State Capital building intentionally blocking entry and egress from said entrance. The defendant did refuse a lawful order of a uniformed member of the New York State Police to remove themselves from the area."
The above is from my copy of the court record from my appearance in Albany City Court on May 1, 2018. We were told, as the police warned us they were going to arrest us if we did not move, that our assembly was unlawful.
You'd better believe we intentionally blocked access to the Hall of Governors. The hall where our elected officials are supposed to represent the well-being of The People and therefore the planet. We also covered the state seal with a giant sun. "Excelsior" is what the state seal says. We the People are fed up with bearing all the risk of fracked gas infrastructure while getting no benefit as the methane in the state's pipelines flows to port for export for the profit of gas companies, most of which are not even run from this country or state. We are tired of gas companies using Eminent Domain precedents to take citizens' land for profit. We are tired of corporations destroying rivers and lakes and when caught paying the slap-on-the-wrist fines as a "cost of doing business." We are tired of our governor talking the talk but not walking the walk. This is why I went to Albany and committed the violation of disorderly conduct. I will not be silent as Denmark and Sweden get their electricity from 100% renewable sources, India and China solarize, Iceland uses almost 100% geothermal heat and New York does almost nothing.
This is not about "fighting for what you believe in." Climate change is not something to believe or not believe in. It is real. It is happening. It is happening at an exponential rate. We're almost out of time. If you want to have the ridiculous argument about whether it is caused by human activity, feel free. While you're doing that I'll be fighting to do something about it. We have the technology and resources to make New York green. In Albany they don't have the will. The People need to step up, and when necessary we break the law.
Our arrest and our court experience were very easy. I've sat in court many hours in support of my friends who committed acts of civil disobedience, and I've watched poor black and brown people have a much different experience than I had in court. When poor people go to court it often does not end well. I'm grateful for how easy it was but I'm still proud to have blocked the halls of government and caused a bit of a ruckus. Former candidate for governor Howie Hawkins and actor James Cromwell were arrested with us. Some of the most badass human beings I've ever met were arrested with us, particularly Kim Fraczek and Monica Hunken and my wife Peg Taylor.
The experience overall was extremely moving. Being in handcuffs is horrible. Being processed and searched is horrible. Even so it was an empowering experience, especially with 54 other people who felt as strongly as I did. I think we got a bit of attention from the people in the capital, even as some did their best to ignore us. In the end our number was too big to ignore. We are taking up four morning slots in court, all week. We didn't get a lot of attention from the mainstream media, which is in some cases owned or partly owned by fossil fuel companies. Some day if we lose this fight, people will see how harmful it was to let the corporations control the media. Right now we just do our best to spread the word without them.
Carry on enthusiastically. People have the power.
Wednesday, May 2nd 2018
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