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Local school board member arrested at Washington, DC rally

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board member Elisabeth Motsinger and her husband John were arrested along with more than 240 other protesters during a show of civil disobedience at the White House on Sept. 3. The rally against the Keystone XL pipeline was intended to persuade President Obama to deny a permit for the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Motsinger said the Keystone XL pipeline has become a real rallying cry for the environmental movement for a number of reasons.

“If we start removing and refining tar sands — it’s the second biggest storage of carbon and oil on the planet —it’s basically game over for the climate,” Motsinger said. “That much carbon released in the environment ends human history on our planet.”

Obama has to personally sign off on the pipeline and he has not done so yet. Motsinger said she and the other protesters sat on the sidewalk adjacent to the White House across the street from Lafayette Park on Sept. 3. The US Park Police gave protesters three warnings to disperse and soon began arresting them with plastic handcuffs. Motsinger said she was frisked, placed on a bus with 42 other women and taken to a Washington, DC police station. Motsinger and her husband each paid a $100 fine and were released.

Despite a lack of mainstream media coverage, Motsinger said she felt the protest was a success.

“It intensified my commitment to protecting the environment,” she said. “It made me more aware of how important it was to put my body on the line for what I believe in. “My primary interest as an elected school board member is the well-being of our children, and I can’t think of anything more critical to their well-being than a livable planet,” she added. — KTB

Human rights forum takes place in Greensboro on Friday

The Human Rights Fall Forum, scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. at Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, will highlight three nonprofit organizations that primarily help women. Triad Ladder of Hope is described as a faithbased organization “dedicated to the eradication of the exploitation, sale and enslavement of men, women and children.” The organization reports that human trafficking “is a growing problem in North Carolina due to our large military presence, interstate highways and increasing immigrant population.” The Sherri Denese Jackson Foundation for the Prevention of Domestic Violence was founded by Portia Shipman after her friend’s murder. Linda Mabry, a Charlotte labor activist, founded Women in Organizing “to help female organizers work with other women who have been hurt in the workplace.” — JG

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