The water protectors in Standing Rock are calling on the rest of the country for help now more than ever. Although the easement denial was passed on December 5th 2016, one of the top projects on Trump’s to-do list is the Dakota Access Pipeline; on January 24th, he signed an executive order to advance it forward. As of last Wednesday evening at 5:15 pm, Energy Transfer Partners began drilling to build the controversial pipeline that will transfer oil through four states. But water protectors, protesters and veterans aren’t backing down.
Today from 5 p.m.-2 a.m., Muldoon’s Saloon in Long Beach is holding a Standing Rock fundraiser to raise money for Veterans Stand, a non-profit who focuses on gathering veterans to stand as a buffer between the water protectors and Morton County police. This will be the second time Veterans Stand heads out to the Sioux Indian Reservation.
There will be live music throughout the evening, and artists and local activists will be in attendance helping people figure out how they can help creatively and politically. A portion of bar, art and food truck proceeds will go towards Veterans Stand and supplying the elders and water protectors with what they need.
“Having clean water is a basic human right,” says Patrick Conlon, a co-owner of Muldoon’s who’s curating tonight's event. “That’s why it’s important for us to help the Sioux much as we can. Imagine if a crude oil line exploded in Long Beach and effected the water here. It would destroy everything. We wouldn’t be able to clean dishes or serve people water, and it would shut down our business. But on a grander scale it would completely destroy our community. Our friends and family would have to move. Everything would be disrupted.”
Anthony Diggs, one of the co-founders of Veterans Stand from San Clemente, is in Standing Rock for the second time prior to the deployment of the veterans, figuring out what’s needed on the reservation. As of now, the two most important supplies needed are: a means of warmth and shelter. And because Morton County has prohibited all retail and hardware stores from selling propane and firewood to anyone associated with Standing Rock, they’re at the top of the list. Next to firewood and propane are hand and feet warmers. Tipis, tipi poles and tipi liners for winter are also needed.
Transportation is also a huge issue on the reservation. Cars with four-wheel-drive that can handle the winter, snow tires, chains and gas cards are being asked for. Legal support is also desperately needed. Protestors who’ve been arrested by Morton County police have racked up as many as 10 charges per person. Pro-bono and legal council lawyers are requested, as well as lawyers who specialize in environmental, constitutional and public safety law are encouraged to donate their knowledge and help to those who’ve been incarcerated.
“It’s a way for Morton County cops to deter other protesters from coming out,” says Conlon, who has a friend from LA who had ton of charges racked up against her as well as spent two weeks in jail for protesting at Standing Rock.
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Additionally, the reservation is looking for people who can go to Standing Rock to help with constructing shelter and other construction tasks.
But perhaps the best part about todays’s event at Muldoon’s Saloon is that there will be a place for people to drop off donations, and everything that’s donated is tax deductible. And if you’re a lawyer, there will be volunteers there tomorrow to put you in touch with people who need your help.
If you can’t make tonights event, you can still participate by donating to the Veterans Stand GoFund Me. It launched about 10 days ago and they’re more than half way to their goal.
“[The] event is going to be awesome, nearly 800 people have shown interest in attending,” says Conlon. “It’s going to be an awesome way to support the Water Protectors.”