We all heard Alan Jeffer’s voicemail; cancelling the meeting Ben worked hard to secure. The meeting resembled the finale of our program. It wasn’t necessarily the reason we biked 1,231 miles for. Collectively, we have different reasons and stories for why we are fighting this battle. But we all agreed that visiting the communities along our journey, meeting powerful people who live their lives each and every day impacted by the oil industry, empowered us to share their voice and strive to change the way we consume oil and try to share with delegates in the oil industry why their company needs to evolve in order to create a healthy, cleaner world.
It’s not about the biking. It’s about the people. It’s about the wonderful planet we live on and the beauty and abundance Mother Nature provides for us. We decided as a team that we would not give up. We planned to go to ExxonMobil’s corporate office on Monday, July 23rd and ask that they keep their promise to meet with us. We emailed and posted the number to Alan Jeffer’s line so other supporters could call and explain the importance of meeting with us. Why these communities needed to be heard. We’re still trying to count and determine how many people called; so far we’ve counted at least 40. That’s a lot of calls, that’s a lot of support.
We arrived at St. Bernard’s Sporting Good Store before heading over to the looming gray block building. We gathered in a circle and shared our most memorable moment on our journey, what image, or town hit us the hardest. We said all the names of the people we were fighting for, all the people we had met throughout our voyage. We put our hands in as a team and went to action!
Kelly and Van carried our vibrant “Honk If You Love This Planet” banner out to the grassy ditch of the frontage road. We wished Ben, Blair, Fernanda, and Skye good luck as they walked off to the visitor security gate to politely ask if they could meet with Alan Jeffers. They returned in less than 5 minutes. The security guard did not have permission to let them in and could not help them out.
We received many honks on the road, even from truck drivers! We decided we would record our testimonials on video camera outside the gloomy office with the gigantic Pegasus symbol stamped at the crown of the corporate cube. An undercover car of sergeants pulled up to warn us about standing in the road. They were very polite and concerned about our safety. They also explained how there is a banner ordinance in the city of Dallas, and our banner was currently violating the ordinance because we were also near a highway. We decided to put the banner away as they suggested areas that would be better. They gave us their number and said we could call them if anyone hassled us.
A photographer from ExxonMobil’s office, observed us from afar to see what we were doing. He talked with one of us and said that we were fine and he was required to take photos of any protesting activity that went on their grounds. We knew that Alan Jeffer’s and many other employees in the corporate office had noticed we were outside. How could they not with all the honks we received from planet loving people? Our only question remained: why are they still refusing to meet with us?
We read our testimonials which were letters addressed to ExxonMobil. We all shared our stories, our reasons for why we believe they need to change their industry, and the questions we would ask them and hope they would think about as they read our letters. These letters described the communities we’ve seen, the social injustice we’ve witnessed, the fact that climate change is real, and that we will not give up trying to make this world a better place.
After our small significant action, we celebrated like a dignified family at Cosmic Café. We rejoiced in our resolution to stay formidable and determined to keep fighting for the cause we believe in, and keep fighting for the people who believe in us and not only inspire but empower us to keep exerting our energy for a better world.