On May 7th, Philly Thrive and Action United organized the “Right to Breathe Mobilization.” 300 people from Philadelphia and beyond gathered at the gates of PES’s South Philly oil refinery to take a stand against the refinery’s expansion. Philly joined activists from around to world in "Break Free 2016," a wave of resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure across the US and in 11 countries worldwide.
The crowd held giant sunflowers, symbolizing our belief in a better future for Philadelphia with clean air, healthy families and a green economy.
Speakers including children, faith leaders, Southwest Philadelphians and physicians explained why refinery expansion is bad for Philadelphia.
Together, we took the intersection leading to the refinery. We stayed there blocking traffic for a quarter of an hour -- symbolic of a quarter of children in Philadelphia who suffer from asthma.
A group of over a dozen protesters put their bodies on the line to block one of the gates into the PES refinery.
We planted our sunflowers in the fence surrounding the oil refinery. We left proud of what we had done, and knowing that much is left to do to bring about a cleaner, healthier future for Philly.
You can see more about the protest by checking out the media coverage of the day: