The Stars Align in Favor of Standing Rock

CATE WATERS (GRADE 11)

Like many others, I was relieved to hear that the US Army Corps of Engineers refused to grant a permit to build the pipeline through the burial and sacred sites of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The ruling is currently temporary, but detouring the pipeline would mean the Missouri River, which the pipe is planned to intersect, would remain toxin-free and continue to be a source of clean water for all people.

This exciting and well-deserved news came with a barrage of tweets in support of the brave protestors of Standing Rock. Some of their most vocal supporters were celebrities. Over 20 celebrities tweeted their support for the Sioux people.

Alicia Keys tweeted a picture of a Native American that read: “Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize we can’t eat money.” The tweet was captioned: “#Truth! Victory for #StandingRock! Victory for all of us!”

Shailene Woodley also turned to Twitter to speak out about #NoDAPL (No Dakota Access Pipeline). The actress was arrested back in October at one of the pipeline protests. She has been an inspiration to many, and a key player in bringing justice to Standing Rock.

Pharell Williams said it best when he tweeted: “solid proof that people coming together can change things for the better,” along with a CNN article headlined: Dakota Access Pipeline to be rerouted.

Without big names like Keys, Williams, and Woodley, the pipeline crisis would fall into the news feeds of our parents and grandparents as they watch the nightly news. Celebrities backing a cause gives millennials exposure to our nation’s issues, resulting in the wide spread of news, which is the best thing for any cause. Instead of the pipeline crisis being limited to CNN and the New York Times, it is blowing up the phones of Twitter users and E! News subscribers.

Along with tweets, many celebrities led by example, joining protesters in North Dakota, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

In October, Mark Ruffalo and Susan Sarandon were joined by hundred of people in LA to protest climate change and stand with the natives in Dakota. Sarandon also started an online petition in hopes of getting the attention of big banks. She hopes to stop the $3.7 billion pipeline by targeting the banks that are funding it. The petition has over 115,000 signatures and counting.

The people in the streets, the ones signing petitions, are the next generation of decision makers, and (thanks to our avid adoption of social media) key influencers of all generations. We can often use our numbers to influence others. Personally, the cause that is clearly displayed in my Twitter and Facebook feed, is easily accessible, and easy to understand, is the cause I am most likely to support.

Although a small victory, the majority has spoken. We must not allow sacred land to be destroyed, or rivers to be polluted. We must continue to share our opinions and advocate for our cause. We must continue to fight for what is right, and celebrities can play a key role in the fight. The success at Standing Rock has given hope to many protesters, as well as the younger generations, and will continue to inspire civil disobedience. As we fight under the stars for change, the stars in Hollywood can be a guiding light to our efforts.

Photo credit: Indianz.com

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