On Sept. 24, 2017, we at Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock are celebrating our one-year anniversary. But is it over for Standing Rock now that the camps are gone? The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) still threatens current and future generations at Standing Rock, and the 17 million people downstream of where the DAPL crosses the Missouri River. The Dakota Access Pipeline and the entire fossil fuel industry threaten life on our planet by accelerating climate change. The camps are gone, but the water protectors continue to inspire Standing Rock-style fossil fuel resistance the world over.
Our group Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock has come a long way, from that first meeting of about 30 people concerned about Standing Rock a year ago, to supporting protests against and divestment from DAPL investors Citibank, Wells Fargo, Chase and SPO Partners in Santa Rosa, Marin and San Francisco, culminating in a vigil and silent march ending in front of Citibank on Dec. 4, 2016 in solidarity with the 2000 veterans who converged at Standing Rock to act as a human shield for the water protectors. 500-600 people joined our solidarity march on short notice. We have raised money for the legal defense of water protectors and for Lakota People’s Law Project. We’ve been interviewed for radio and newspapers, we’ve written articles and given presentations.
Native American leaders and organizations continue to urge divestment from fossil fuels, and we continue to call people to action. In March, we started a divestment team which works on both individual and institutional divestment. Our divestment team has joined forces with Public Bank Santa Rosa to urge the City of Santa Rosa to start a public bank (www.sonomasolidarity.org), which will reap tremendous local benefits, including funding the transition to clean energy locally.
Lakota People’s Law Project is calling people to action to support a petition to drop charges against the water protectors who have inspired us all. Now that the water protectors have inspired us to action all over the world, we cannot abandon them to the tender mercies of the State of North Dakota’s courts. (www.lakotalaw.org) We have to transition away from deadly fossil fuels to a clean energy future. We have work to do, and there are some great opportunities ahead of us.