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Winston-Salem Protests the Dakota Access Pipeline

(Last Updated On: November 18, 2016)

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The sidewalks of downtown Winston-Salem show the trail of the Winston-Salem Stand for Standing Rock Protest. They read #noDapl, Frack You, and No Blood for Oil in bright yellow, green, and blue chalk.

Merschel Plaza, at the end of Trade Street and running into Fourth Street, is where the protestors gathered this past Tuesday, a day organized as a national movement. A day when hundreds of rallies supporting Standing Rock occurred all over the nation and the world. Support in Winston Salem came from as far as Connecticut and was being delivered directly to Standing Rock via a poster board all the protestors signed.

Cheryl, a 46 year old medical claims analyst who is part Miami National Indian, attended with her friend who is 53 and self-employed in home repairs. She follows the news about Standing Rock via social media and via Indigenous Journalist Myron Dewey on sites like Digital Smoke Signals. Dewey shared the information about the rally. It brought Cheryl to the website listing a Greensboro rally at 3 p.m. and Winston Salem’s rally at 7.

“I was working so I drove into Winston tonight,” she said. “It goes much deeper than environmental or Native American treaties (for me). I’ve seen so much in the way of the human rights violations, racism and just pure hate that it saddens my heart.”

The group at the rally was a mixture of all ages and races, abolishing the stereotype that the protests are only attended by college student millennials.

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Food not Bombs, a Winston Salem chapter of a national group started in the 80’s as an anti-nuke protest organization, was present supporting the movement; they were feeding the people muffins and providing water. The energy level was high due to news released earlier that day, which revealed that the Army Corp of Engineers is putting a pause on construction until further review. The group gathered for a quick photo and started moving. With approximately 60 marching, the echoes of the bullhorn call and response was heard bouncing off the buildings for blocks away.

Alexx Andersen, an activist involved in many causes in the area and a known leader, was manning the bullhorn.

“When Native lives are under attack, what do we do?” Stand up fight back! “Standing Rock’s got some freedom fighters, and they’re teaching us how to fight, we gon’ fight all day and night until we get it right.” “What side are you on my people? What side are you on?” We on the freedom side.

The route lead to the Wells Fargo Center on Main Street. It is one of the major banks backing the Dakota Access Pipeline. Removing bank accounts from Wells Fargo and other financial backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline is a way the average person can support Standing Rock. For more information on getting engaged go to standwithstandingrock.net.

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