What The DAPL Victory Means For All Of Us

What The DAPL Victory Means For All Of Us

Why their victory means more than just re-routing.
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For the past few months, protesters in Standing Rock, North Dakota have contested the construction of a pipeline which would contaminate the drinking waters of the resident Native American people. These peaceful protesters have been met with forceful opposition from law enforcement in the form of tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons. On Friday, it was announced that the protesters were to evacuate the area by Monday, December 5th in lieu of facing arrest. However, the protesters refused to leave, choosing instead to hold their ground.

After months of peacefully protesting at Standing Rock, the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline has officially been re-routed. The Stand With Standing Rock movement's seemingly endless fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline has been recognized by officials throughout the nation.

Protesting has always been a staple of American culture -- our country started as a series of protests which built up to become the first successful war for independence from colonization. The first amendment of our constitution grants us the right to assemble; this ability has been exercised many times throughout history to varying degrees of success. However, the decided impact of these demonstrations hinges on the use of peaceful protest.

Peaceful protesting and non-violent resistance is an interesting concept, to say the very least. What makes peaceful protesting difficult is when human nature gets in the way. When we get worked up about an issue that is very near and dear to our hearts, oftentimes our emotions take over for our actions. Tensions are further heightened when government-endorsed military personnel use extensive, harmful measures to combat those protesting in peace.

Let me be clear: this is not excusing violent behavior, but providing an explanation as to why something peaceful can come to be the opposite. Along with that, it is not an attack on law enforcement or the police force, but a commentary on how things have been handled.

There have been examples of protests that started out as peaceful and were then lead to violence because of the presence of military force. And, along with that, there are protests that were not always peaceful that were also met with military force. We can look at the Kent State protests against the Vietnam War, which included mild violence from the protesters, but was met with the infamous shooting of students by the Ohio National Guard and other forces.

Another example includes the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, which was an assembly of peaceful protesters who sought to disrupt the World Trade Organization Ministerial Coreference. It eventually spiraled into protesters smashing windows and blocking intersections but was met with tear gas, pepper spray, and other forces from the National Guard, and the Seattle police.

Some of the most powerful examples of peaceful protests in the past century have been immortalized in photographs. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, headed by Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama from 1955-56. The 1963 March on Washington lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When, in 1967, a group of hippies and anti-Vietnam War activists facing the National Gaurd with flowers, not guns.1968 Olympic gold and bronze medalists, Tommie Smith and John Carlos respectively, holding their fists in the air as a silent, peaceful statement for the ongoing oppression of African Americans in America.


To look to more modern day examples, we don't have to look far. The summer of 2014 started one of the most powerful movements in recent American history:the Black Lives Matter movement. Regardless of your opinion on those who stand for BLM, it cannot be denied that they have become one of the most prominent groups in modern day society. They started coming together with the murder of Eric Garner in Staten Island, who was put in a chokehold by police for selling untaxed cigarettes. This death was the first of many that summer: Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which lead to weeks of protesting; Walter Scott in South Carolina, and Freddie Grey in Baltimore.

The above cases fuel the fire of BLM because they are three black men who were met with fatal force from police officers. While the innocence of the men in question is debatable, the fact that they were murdered by police officers is infuriating, to say the very least. The BLM movement induces a confusing dichotomy -- people are mad at the police for acting against these men with brutal force, and on the surface, it seems as if these people are protesting against the police force as a whole. As if they detest them, and show them no respect. However, this is not the case. These people are looking for justice and fair treatment from a system which has systematically been against them for generations.

And more recently, upon the results of the 2016 Presidential Election, students and other groups throughout America have been coming together to make their opinions known about Donald Trump, the president-elect, and his platform. These anti-Trump protests have died down since the week after the election, but their importance remains: the people are once again unhappy, therefore they are exercising their right to assemble and make their voices heard.

The importance of the victory at Standing Rock is one for the American people: those who are struggling to be heard in a nation that doesn't want to hear them. Those who are fighting for equal rights which are currently being denied. Those who are wronged by systematic injustice which has been in place for generations.

In spite of any flack they may receive from various sources, peaceful protesting works. Especially in the face of violence and disdain. Congratulations, those who fought against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Your victory is an important stone in the pathway to justice.

Cover Image Credit: "Flower Power" by Bernie Boston

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

Take care of our planet and our future.

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The reality of climate change and method to address the issue has been a source of contention in the United States for far too long. While Republicans trail behind Democrats a great deal in the percentage who believe long-term, irreversible climate change is a real problem, an equally if not more important gap to acknowledge is that between generations.

A universally taught science concept in elementary school is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere — rainy, sunny, etc. Climate is the weather of a particular geographic location over a long period of time. The weather in an area may be snowy on a particular January day but might overall have a warm climate (Trump has yet to learn this concept).

The gap between generational support for not only believing in the reality of climate change but if the government should take steps to prevent further harm on our planet is apparent. A few reasons that older generations may not support aggressive climate change policies are that many are not going to see the lasting impact of their harmful actions, may not want to acknowledge that their way of life for a majority of their life was detrimental to the environment, or that they simply do not think it is the government's role to further regulate current practices and lifestyles in the name of the environment (an argument supported by many conservatives).

Data For Progress

The "Green New Deal," proposed earlier this month by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey is mainly a list of ideas and goals rather than a carefully laid-out plan, though aims to eliminate greenhouse emissions through the creation of millions of jobs in the renewable energy industry, moving toward public ownership (a major source of disagreement among Republicans and Democrats), and much more. This plan is a comprehensive overview of many sources of environmental degradation that our nation has not addressed, despite the majority of the nation believing the climate change is a real issue.

There will undoubtedly be a major shift in the operations of many companies due to aggressive climate change policies, which could have been avoided at a drastic level if our nation had chosen to make climate change prevention a priority. Unfortunately, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will rise to an irreversible level in 12 years if the United States and other countries that greatly contribute to rising temperatures do not take action. A sense of urgency has been lacking for far too long is crucial.

Written into the recently proposed Green New Deal is a section detailing how it will attempt to remedy the inequality of those most directly impacted by climate change. Vulnerable communities, particularly communities of color, are not seeing an equitable distribution in disaster funding to prevent damage inflicted by the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters that have resulted as an increase in rising global temperatures — Which, regardless of your age, should be a glaring flaw in our current system.

I personally doubt that the entirety of the recently proposed Green New Deal will be enacted, however, I believe that anyone who values the quality of human life, clean air, clean water, food sources, for not just those in the United States, but around the world, should be supportive of a Green New Deal.

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