Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock - No DAPL
By Linda Swartz
Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock is a local group supporting the efforts of the water protectors at Standing Rock to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and urge divestment from fossil fuels.
On September 24 a group of 30 concerned citizens gathered in Santa Rosa, concerned about the escalating violence at Standing Rock, where the local tribe and their supporters are risking their lives to protect land and water against the DAPL.
the group joined with 350 Sonoma and First United Methodist Church to hold an event with local Native American speakers and others who had been to Standing Rock. The group backed the Sonoma County Human Rights Commission resolution to support the Standing Rock Sioux. We helped to promote a major benefit organized by For All Our Relations on November 6 in Sebastopol. It was packed to capacity, and raised $29,000.
When No-DAPL groups across the country organized on November 15 to call for divestment from DAPL, members of the group joined actions in San Francisco, San Rafael, and Santa Rosa. Adam Villagomez, a local member of the Dakota Sioux/Chippewa, led the group with drumming and chanting. In concert with other groups across the USA urging divestment from the pipeline, we tabled at the Santa Rosa Plaza Mall on October 30 and December 3.
On December 4 when veterans from all over the country converged at Standing Rock in support of the 100 tribes gathered there, following reports that the Dept. of the Army would evict the protesters from the camps on that day, the group organized a march and silent vigil. 600 people, including local veterans, gathered to hear inspiring words by Adam, Cynthia Quinn of Yurok descent and others, and marched peacefully through downtown Santa Rosa. Outside Citibank, cheers and tears broke out at the announcement that the Army would conduct an environmental impact assessment, effectively halting construction of the pipeline.
We knew that despite this temporary victory, this was not the end of the struggles at Standing Rock. According to Lakota prophecy, in the seventh generation a black snake will come to destroy the Earth and the younger generation will rise up to defend it. Many Native Americans and others vowed to stay on at the encampments until “the black snake is dead.” Energy Transfer Partner’s decisions to take legal action and continue the drilling spurred us on to continued action.
At the Women’s March in Santa Rosa on January 21, we disseminated information and marched with 5,000 others to stand up for human rights, social and environmental justice, and climate action. On January 23 we hosted another event at the Sebastopol Grange. Native American youth from Standing Rock spoke to about 100 people, calling for continued support for water protectors courageously holding their ground. We joined over 100 environmental and social activist groups at the North Bay Community Engagement Fair on January 29, received 420+ mailing list signups and raised funds for the water protectors.
Our ongoing letter writing campaign targets officials to uphold the environmental impact process, under imminent threat by the administration. We plan to meet with local congressional representatives to petition their support for the environmental impact assessment and request an investigation into conflicts of interest and human rights abuses at Standing Rock.
. Upcoming actions and events include
• Coalition March, April 29 to coincide with large march on Washington DC
Sonoma Solidarity holds biweekly meetings at the Peace and Justice Center. We seek to educate the public and our elected representatives about Standing Rock and the global movement to stand up for climate justice and indigenous rights. We welcome your support and need your creative energy. Check Facebook for meetings and events.
To contact Sonoma Solidarity:
Facebook: https:// facebook.com/SonomaNoDAPL
No DAPL Protest Photos by Karen Preuss