A Small Drop of Water
Over a thousand Minnesotans took to the streets on Thursday, September 28th, at the “Hold the Line” march to show our opposition to the controversial Line 3 pipeline proposal. I attended this rally alongside MNIPL, and was moved by the passion and energy that each participant brought to the march. I left feeling noticeably more optimistic after experiencing the gathering of various groups of environmentalists, social justice activists, and Native communities, all united in our opposition to the unnecessary and incredibly harmful proposed construction of a new Line 3 in northern Minnesota.
We gathered at the Capitol in St. Paul to listen to several powerful and inspirational speakers; Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth and the Native American Advisor to Bernie Sanders’ campaign in 2016, spoke as one of the Ojibwe people, urging everyone present to fight this pipeline to help preserve the culture of Native people in northern Minnesota. She shared her accounts of previous pipeline oppositions, emphasizing the importance and urgency with which we must all act in order for this pipeline proposal to be overturned. Brent Murcia of MNIPL spoke as a member of the Youth Climate Intervenors. As his passions lay in preserving the environment for younger generations and generations yet to come well, he appealed directly to the young people of the audience, inspiring and exciting us all with his optimism.
As we marched side by side, I felt a deep sense of connectedness with everyone around me. I was struck by the sheer number of people who gathered to take part in this event, and the power and strength I felt through our oneness as we walked together.
We marched to the public hearing, where we were all encouraged to put forth our names to enter in the drawing which determined who would have the opportunity to speak directly to the judge. I did not put my name in the drawing pool, but I stayed and listened as several others spoke in either opposition or support of Line 3.
The majority of people at the hearing were in opposition to the project, and everyone who participated in the march was given a small blue handkerchief to wave in silent support when we heard a like-minded individual try to persuade the judge against the pipeline’s construction. The sea of blue flags waving in support of one another reminded me of the water we are all dedicated to saving and supporting by fighting this proposal, and I was struck by the beauty and symbolism of that moment.
I felt honored to be small a drop of water in the river of people streaming through the streets last Thursday in support of environmental justice and Native rights. The speakers moved me with their passion and optimism, and I can’t help but feel hopeful that we will turn a major corner in the realm of environmental justice in Minnesota by denying this pipeline proposal. Change is possible, and the event last Thursday has only fueled my determination to continue this fight alongside everyone who attended this march, and everyone who is in support in human rights and environmental health.