Students protest pipeline, Trump election

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(Photo by Julia Johnson/MSR News

In response to results of the November 8 presidential election, over the past week protests have occurred both across the Twin Cities and the nation. Around 5000 protesters gathered near the University of Minnesota campus at 7:30 pm on November 11. They were marching to protest President-Elect Donald J. Trump. The march went into the Cedar Riverside neighborhood and eventually made its way to Highway 94 where they blocked traffic and shut down the freeway.

Earlier that day, high school students across the Twin Cities walked out of classes in the afternoon to gather downtown as a sign of unity and to take action against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the recent election of Donald Trump. Students from Southwest, Washington, Roosevelt, and Perpich Center for Arts were among those present.

The DAPL project is a new, approximately 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline to connect the rapidly expanding Bakken and Three Forks crude oil production areas in North Dakota to refineries in Patoka, Illinois. Students and other people around the country are opposing the project as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe tries to secure clean water for its people now and in the future.

According to the American Rivers, a nonprofit that their website says “protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature,” if the DAPL is constructed as planned beneath the riverbed near the reservation, it could pose a threat to the river and the tribe’s clean water supplies. Therefore, the tribe is in a fight for its health and the safety of its members, as well as for the lands and waters vital to its culture and heritage.

(See photos below by Chris Juhn)

Cliff Martin of the Young People Access Coalition and one of the leaders of the protest stated, “The connection between Trump’s election and the DAPL is that President Donald Trump has stocks invested in the companies that are building the DAPL. Students are here to take a stand at various banks across downtown in efforts to add pressure, so that they can remove their funding for the DAPL project.”

The MSR spoke with Collin Robinson of Southwest High School and a member of YPAC (Young People Action Coalition), who told us, “It is important for many people to keep their eyes open to their surroundings and support the youth. People should come!”

Asked how he feels about the people who could vote but chose not to do so this past presidential election, Robinson said, “It upsets me because not all people have that privilege, and I know people in my family who were incarcerated and recently got the right to vote again.

“I am friends with Jason Sole, who recently led the walkout for restoring the vote of the 57,000, and to see people not vote after those efforts is disappointing.”

With the students taking such a strong stance on issues affecting underrepresented communities, MSR asked Martin if the students present were able to vote this past election. “More than half of these kids were not able to vote due to their ages,” he said.

 

For more information on Young People Access Coalition see their Facebook page.

By Julia Johnson welcomes reader’s response to julia.e.johnson4@gmail.com.