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Amnesty International hosts Anti-DAPL Phonathon

Caren Holmes
Staff Writer

On Dec. 1, as part of the nationally organized day of action against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), leaders of The College of Wooster’s Amnesty International chapter organized a phonathon in solidarity with the protestors of Standing Rock. More than 50 students participated over the course of two hours, making more than 170 phone calls to government representatives, banks affiliated with DAPL construction (notably Wells Fargo, TD Securities amd Citibank) and other influential organizations, encouraging divestment and government action against the pipeline. Alina Karapandzich ’18 and Komal Mesvani ’18 were instrumental to the organization of this event.

In an email from Karapandzich and Mesvani, they explained, “Our objectives were to provide students with a platform to actively reach out to representatives in order to make a small contribution to the larger cause of protesting the DAPL and showing support for the protesters and for Native American human rights.” In accordance with the mission of Amnesty International, the two affirmed the importance of protecting human rights especially the rights of women and children, minorities, indigenous peoples and other historically disenfranchised populations. Motivated by these values, Karapandzich and Mesvani expressed, “The DAPL and the mistreatment of those protesting the DAPL are important to human rights — especially the rights of indigenous peoples, making this a key area of human rights issues.”

In response to national protests and the ongoing encampment on the Standing Rock reservation, the Army Corp of Engineers announced on Dec. 4 that it would deny permits for construction of the DAPL under the Missouri river. While this is a significant victory for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and DAPL protestors, supporters stress the need to hold the companies involved in the construction of the pipeline accountable remains.

Karapandzich and Mesvani suggested that “students can get involved by making calls and sending letters to their district and state representatives, whose names and numbers are available online through the U.S. government. Students can also mail supplies to one of the two following addresses: Sacred Stone Camp, P.O. Box 1011, Fort Yates, ND 58538 or 202 Main Street, Fort Yates, ND 58538.” They added, “The protesters have an Amazon wish list with items that they need, so it is a good idea to buy items from their wish list instead of guessing what the protesters need.”

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