Eight water protectors from Keene State College went to Washington D.C. to crusade against crude oil and advocate against the environmental and the social injustices that indigenous peoples all over the world face.
The reason for fighting such a cause extends its reach far beyond what’s taking place just in North Dakota alone.
This past weekend, eight Keene State College students traveled by van 400 plus miles from New Hampshire to Alexandria, Virginia to be a part of a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protest that was held in Washington D.C. on Saturday afternoon.
The students arrived at their hotel in Virginia early Saturday morning where they then rested up before waking up early to take on our nation’s capital.
Some of the students who came down to D.C. to stand in solidarity with the Sioux Tribe the weekend before finals week were also a part of the road trip of students who went to the site of the DAPL in North Dakota over Thanksgiving break.
However, these students stand with not only the Sioux Tribe in opposition of the DAPL, but also in resistance of all pipelines and infringement of indigenous people’s rights happening all over the world.
As vital as crude oil has become in order to maintain the functions of modern day society, at the end of the day we can’t drink oil and many feel it’s best left in the soil.
After taking the metro into the capital, the students toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
This impactful walk through the museum shed light upon the slow but steady genocide that’s occurring across the world in terms of water pollution.
Many feel as though poisoning water supplies is a form of genocide. Mni Wiconi, water is life, was a message delivered loud and clear at the event in D.C.
To contaminate water is to contaminate the lives of those who utilize that source of water.
In the long run this will affect us all, not just those directly at the source of the pollution and often times that is overlooked.
Water pollution affects us all, and so the eight water protectors of KSC stood in solidarity in opposition of putting big money in the oil industry above the lives of humans who are entitled to clean water.
Some may fear what’s ahead as we already pay to consume water, an element we as humans can’t live without.
KSC junior majoring in polyscience, with an addictions minor and also a State Representative for New Hampshire, Joseph Stallcop was present for both the trip to Standing Rock and the rally held in D.C. Saturday, Dec. 10.
Stallcop said, “Definitely after witnessing what I had in North Dakota, having the opportunity to stand in the one location that government is and showing that the people are unhappy about the decisions that are going on is very vital to me.”
He continued, “As big as an endeavor as it was to go to standing rock I know there is constantly more to be done to make sure the message has been brought to those involved that we are not happy about what has been going on.”
Stallcop described his experience at the rally in D.C. as pretty amazing. In terms of the atmosphere he experienced marching through the streets of the capitol Stallcop said, “It’s a mixture of emotions. There is definitely hope and joy that the amount of people attended were all fighting for the same thing,”
He continued, “also frustration and grief of what’s going on.” He explained that there are multiple messages occurring at the same time and that this is definitely something that is going beyond Standing Rock.
Stallcop also explained that there are a combination of factors present here such as colonialism, racism, all the way down to police militarization and the question of what are the freedoms and rights given by this country.
Stallcop asks that, “People as a whole look into things and when they see that something may be going wrong and that people may be being harmed as well as having their rights violated, they should find out what’s happening and do their best to change it.”
He continued, “From one comes many and from many, action can occur.”
Senior nutrition major Allie Aron was one of the two drivers that drove the KSC crew down for the protest.
Aron said, “It was eye-opening and made me think a lot about community and family.”
She continued, “To hear the speeches at the rally and seeing all of the strangers become a community was also eye opening.”
She explained that when one does stuff like this they meet like minded people. Like minds definitely came together as one, as chants were called out as hundreds marched through the streets of Washington D.C. in opposition of much more than just the DAPL.
Adam Urquhart can be contacted at email@example.com