Friday, October 28, 2016

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. statement

Media Contacts: Don Terry 

 Water is Life, Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline 

A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. 

CANNONBALL, N.D. – Everywhere I went today, I was greeted with a simple but profound statement, “Water is life.” 

It was shouted by young children and ancient grandmothers, by a white man from Florida and four young Indian men on horseback. 

Water is life. 

I spent the day not far from here, as a proud member of the coalition of conscience, standing with the people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their courageous nonviolent crusade to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

The construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline – which will carry 500,000 gallons of crude oil a day across four states – threatens the tribe’s sacred lands, burial sites and drinking water. But the people of Standing Rock are not mere protesters. They are protectors. {PROTECTORS}

Yet, they do not fight just for themselves. A stretch of the pipeline is scheduled to run below the Missouri River, the tribe’s water source. The river is also the source of water for 17 million people – mostly non-Natives – down river. 

A pipeline leak into the Missouri could be an environmental disaster of epic proportions. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as dangerous and disgraceful as it continues to be, impacted about 100,000 residents. 

The Native American plight is one of protracted genocide and dishonored treaties. They are unrepresented by the protection of law. The police are used as threat and intimidation. Native youth, I was told today, are eight times more likely to commit suicide than other American youth. Life expectancy for Native men and women is not much beyond middle-age. They need lifelines, not pipelines. 

The Standing Rock reservation is one of the poorest areas in the country and from what I saw and heard today one of the proudest and most determined to defend Mother Earth. They are like that tree planted near the water. They shall not be moved. 

I was moved, though. I was repeatedly greeted with warmth and prayer in the camp dotted with cooking fires, teepees and tents, home to more than 1,200 Native Americans from dozens of tribes and their allies from across the country and the world. Some days during the months-long campaign to safeguard the environment, three times that number has lived in the camp. 

I should say almost everywhere. Leaving the camp, headed for the airport, my colleagues and I were stopped at a police checkpoint. The officers were armed with assault rifles and grim faces as they confronted unarmed Americans. One of the officers had his finger near the trigger of his rifle during the entire 20 minutes of negotiations it took for them to allow us to pass. 

It was an unnecessary and ugly confrontation – and a tremendous waste of police resources. But this struggle is about more than a pipeline. It represents an indigenous resistance movement, a reawakening. I hope our nation does not continue to abandon our Native brothers and sisters. I will return to this prairie of hope as soon as I can. When I do, we will again stand together. We will pray together. We will learn and teach together. We will protect the water together and if need be, we will go to jail together to stop the pipeline. 

Water is life. 

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. 

Founder and President Rainbow PUSH Coalition -30- Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization thatwas formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the RainbowCoalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit,Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a realityfor all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improvingthe lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gaincivil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justicearound the world.

1 comment:

  1. When I am alone, I come to see your comments. It is a very good comment, how strange is your loneliness in this city, there are thousands of people but no one is like that. One is changed because you are not there, yesterday even the sunlight did not come on the wall. Thank you from my heart.
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