Loudoun 350 Member Joins NO DAPL Fight at Standing Rock
Local Hero Send Off to Standing Rock Water Protectors Camps, North Dakota
Donations from Loudoun County and Rockingham County transported to North Dakota by Loudoun Native
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 26 2016, LEESBURG — Friends, family, and supporters gathered at K.D. Kidder’s PhotoWorks studio to bid safe travels to Loudoun native Lee Stewart. Mr. Stewart’s Chevy Tahoe was laden with donations from Rockingham County and Loudoun County, including supplies and equipment listed on the Water Protectors’ website, http://www.nodaplarchive.com/. Cash donations were also made to Mr. Stewart to help pay for gas. For example, a high school classmate that K.D. Kidder had not seen since 1986 passed through Leesburg, saw the NoDAPL/ Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline display outside the studio doorway, and briefly stopped to make a generous cash donation.
The Bon Voyage party included a smudge stick ceremony that Ms. Kidder learned from Native Americans when she made the 1986 Great Walk for Global Nuclear Disarmament across the United States. The ceremony was conducted to remove negativity and draw in positive energy for Mr. Stewart and all in attendance.
The gathering gave people a chance to talk about the conflict in North Dakota where Water Protectors using non-violent direct action are met with violence, including spraying water on protestors in 20 degree weather. Local law enforcement and the National Guard are using increasingly militarized responses. Over $10 million dollars has been spent against the non-violent Water Protectors, with another $4 million requested.
Hamilton resident and solar contractor Joe Seraphin stated “Bringing climate change and the need for renewable energy infrastructure to the forefront of public discussion is a priority.”
Sarah Richardson of Leesburg is in agreement. “I want to show my respect and concern for Lee and all others dedicated to opposing the ruthless disregard for peaceful protestors at Standing Rock. The Dakota Access Pipeline, DAPL, project is lawless in practice and unsustainable in the long term. It does not deliver jobs and it harms the planet.”
Aldie resident Nancy Stewart, Lee’s grandmother, came “To save Mother Earth.”
Leesburg resident Amanda Tandy forewarned, “The DAPL protestors are on the front lines of a fight that is going to happen in Virginia and many other states across the country about a community’s ownership over it’s water, air, land, and future. If communities can assert their rights in the face of corporate greed and government collusion against the citizens, then there is hope for the rest of us. I hope Lee and all the protestors bring attention to this issue and stop the “black snake!”
Maria Bergheim, Leesburg, came because “I am in awe of the indigenous people and all others who are there fighting and praying and standing for what is right. I am amazed by the human spirit and resolve of ordinary human beings to come together for basic rights! They are extraordinary in every way while our government continues to brutalize them for standing up! His is the firt time I’ve felt both ashamed and yet hopeful watching people stand up for water and life.”
Jennifer Alves, Leesburg, feels that “Unless someone like you cares a shole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” The Lorax.
At 4 PM the gathering participated in upliftconnect.com’s globally synchronized prayer call to action for Standing Rock. They stood silently in a circle, held hands, and listened to the broadcast of a Native American prayer. Upliftconnect.com hosted the prayer because “Indigenous spirituality acknowledges that all of life is interconnected through nature, knowing that humans have a responsibility to steward and protect the land. Standing Rock’s resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline has become globally symbolic of the struggle to protect our environment from the heartless exploitation of extraction industries that threaten water, land, air, and life itself. For the first time in history, we are seeing a unified global movement to stand and act in solidarity with our indigenous relatives to protect the sacred.”
350 Loudoun hosts candle light vigils each First Friday evening at the Loudoun County Courthouse. All welcome.