On Saturday, September 17, over 400 Philadelphians gathered at City Hall in a show of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota. The protesters, holding signs echoing Standing Rock’s rallying cry of “You Can’t Drink Oil” and “Water is Life,” snaked through Center City in an epic display of grassroots mobilization.
The Standing Rock Sioux has captured the world’s attention in its display against corporate environmental injustices. As Transfer Energy Partner’s Dakota Access pipeline threatens to unearth the tribe’s sacred lands and pollute the Missouri River, over six thousand members of supporting tribes have gathered in North Dakota to protest the pipeline’s construction. It is the largest gathering of Native Americans in over one hundred and sixty years and calls attention to the silent expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the backyards of the disenfranchised.
Zalaka Thompson and Irene Quinn are two members of Philly Thrive who chose to participate in the Standing Rock Solidarity March and a parallel action at a Center City TD Bank location. Both women and their families have faced the negative effects of Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ oil and gas refinery in South Philadelphia. They both took important roles in the action on Saturday, showing at once that Philadelphians stand for the struggle of the Standing Rock tribe and that they deserve the Right to Breathe in their own homes and communities.Read more