Mission activist, youth worker and muralist Nancy Pili Hernandez is one of seven protesters who were arrested on Wednesday after climbing a 270-foot crane in the nation’s capital as an act of peaceful defiance against the country’s new Administration.
“We are hoping that people are looking up today and seeing that the resistance is strong although the opposition in front of us seems to be adamant about dividing the people of this country,” Pili Hernandez said in a video of the action.
Strapped in harnesses and bound together by ropes, the “string of activists” spent some 14 hours dangling against a clear blue sky with a view of the White House, where President Donald Trump issued executive orders to restart two controversial pipeline projects and to stall environmental policy.
The protesters are associated with the environmental group Greenpeace and made national headlines after unfurling a 75-foot banner above a construction site that in bold, handwritten letters read “Resist” – a message for President Trump that they hoped would resonate in communities across the country.
Police arrested Pili Hernandez and six others who participated in the action on Wednesday evening after they descended the crane, and served them with charges of Second Degree Burglary, Unlawful Entry, and Destruction of Property.
The DC Police department issued a statement in which it deemed the group’s actions “extremely dangerous and unlawful.”
As of January 26, Pili Hernandez could not be reached for comment, but in an 11-minute Facebook livestream on Wednesday, the San Francisco native could be seen atop the crane in the heart of Washington D.C., with the Washington Monument in the backdrop.
Despite gusty winds and the imminent threat of arrest, Pili Hernandez smiled as she shared a message of nonviolent resistance with some 770,000 Facebook users who viewed the video, and others who watched from the streets below:
“So we are going to spend some time in jail but it’s definitely worth it,” she said, adding that “non-violent, civil disobedience is a tactic that has worked to mobilize people, teach people, to change things in a way that does not create wars, violence or destroy our spirits.”
Pili Hernandez said in the video that the Administration has erased climate change as an issue, adding that “the default position of this administration is to bury their heads in the sand and act in denial during the largest crisis that humanity has ever faced, then our default position must be fearless resistance.”
Other actions that President Trump has taken in his first week of office include orders to roll back Obamacare, direct agencies to step up deportation proceedings of undocumented immigrants, and construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Pili Hernandez said she intended for the action to inspire unity, instill hope and encourage peaceful opposition in communities impacted by the president’s orders and their supporters.
“If our effort in conquering our fears has inspired you at all I hope that everybody can find ways to resist in our own lives, to work together to stop the pipelines from being built, to protect the water, to protect the land, to protect a woman’s right to choose, to protect gay marriage, to protect our brothers and sisters who are threatened with deportation,” she said.