All too often activism is thought of in terms of big movements, people chaining themselves to trees, and marching through the Capital singing hymns of resistance. But such grand movements need to be supported in a myriad of tiny, unsexy, and vital ways with things like warm winter coats and food. As the protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline that would cut through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota show no sign of slowing down, Beloit students are holding an event to state their solidarity with the protectors’ demands and to help funnel support to the people struggling to make their voices heard.
Over fall break, several Beloit students participated in the Standing Rock protests and came back with a renewed sense of urgency about the struggle taking place. “Many allies gave up their jobs and their comforts to join the struggle permanently. And more importantly, for most of the water protectors, water is life,” says Bradley Rydholm’18, a participant in the fall break trip and one of the key organizers for the solidarity event scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. in Riverside Park.
The event welcomes all college students as well as members of the surrounding Beloit and Rockford communities. It will begin with speakers, including college professors and active water protectors. There will be an interfaith prayer and a photo of supporters to send to those at Standing Rock because “we saw how the images of support from around the world lifted the spirits of the protectors and boosted morale,” says Bradley. Quoting activist Rosa Clemente, Bradley reiterates “change does not come from individuals. Change comes from people who organize to achieve goals.” Organizing the event seeks to bring people together to recognize the immediacy of the issues at Standing Rock and present avenues through which they can support the protectors.
Donations will be accepted at the event and baked goods will be sold with proceeds going to buy supplies that students will take to Standing Rock on another trip over Thanksgiving break. The OADI and the Sustainability Office are also reaching out for supplies to be taken to the reservation until Nov. 21. Read the full list of needed supplies here. Drop donations off on either the first floor of South College or the lobby of the LAPC.