EDITORIAL: Stand, be heard
On Sunday, Dec. 4, the American spirit of defiance claimed a sorely-needed victory over the forces of greed and indifference.
After months of protests, the federal government formally announced it would halt construction on the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline. The Army Corps of Engineers plans to reroute the pipeline so it doesn’t encroach on a vital source of fresh water used by North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
It was a victory for Native American people and their right to sovereignty during a year beset on all sides by regression in the national conscience. It was also a triumph for environmental activists opposed to Big Oil, and the disparate groups that helped elevate the pipeline to a national crisis.
Those two groups, of course, were military veterans and Millennial generation activists. Undoubtedly, North Dakota Sioux might have endured a longer siege battling police brutality without the intervention of these activists.
We believe it is shameful it took the involvement of white activists to end a modern-day assault against native people. However, we are proud that our generation was a part of the solution. We salute every young person who put their lives on hold to make a difference.
Millennials were integral in bringing awareness to the Standing Rock plight on social media, and later activists on the ground. Members of our generation were one part of a wholly new Civil Rights coalition that seemed improbable before Standing Rock became a national quagmire.
We hope these activists continue to fight intolerance in the coming years, and that Standing Rock serves as a valuable lesson for all young people who feel ignored by our institutions of power.
Our generation is often made to appear as ungrateful and egocentric, or lacking resolve in the face of adversity. We were labeled as petulant children for not participating in the electoral process, and now we must deal with those consequences in the form of President-elect Donald Trump.
At Standing Rock, Millennials attempted to do the most good while also dispelling myths tacked on to people in our age group. Add that to the list of achievements established in North Dakota.
Past Civil Rights activists understood that passive resistance was only effective if you had a strong coalition backing you. The Sioux, our heroes in uniform and the future of this nation just proved that assertion as accurate.
Our collective actions reflected a deep yearning for a just government that prioritizes people over economic interests. At last, the American people saw what Millennials are made of: passion, tenacity and an unyielding sense of universal morality.
Let us continue to bring awareness to those things that make us ashamed to be Americans. Let us continue to stand, and fight, so we can be proud of our nation – even when it spits at us from every direction.