Mni Wiconi: Water is Life.

Yesterday, December 4th, the Army Corps of Engineers denied the easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline through Lake Oahe, a reservoir of the Missouri River. This is a huge win for the Sioux of Standing Rock, North Dakota! Water protectors stood their ground and have maintained clean drinking water for their tribe and all those who use the Missouri River as their main water source.

However, this battle may be over, but the war is far from won. Energy Transfer Partners, the construction company of the DAPL, is now in the process of finding alternative routes for the pipeline. We must, as concerned and active citizens, continue to keep a close eye on its development and construction. While this is a huge victory and a step in the right direction, we cannot make the mistake of becoming idle. We must ensure that the DAPL does not infringe on the human right of clean water wherever Energy Transfer Partners re-routes it.

In addition to keeping a close watch on the development of the DAPL construction as it evolves further, I want to speak directly to all those who stood with Standing Rock on a different, but equally important battle for clean water:

Your voice mattered. Your voice made a difference. You stood your ground and affected change. Now, I implore all of you to continue to use your power for good. We managed to protect water rights for the Sioux in North Dakota. Now, we have to use our collective voice to bring attention to the fight for clean water in Flint, Michigan.

It has been over 400 days since Flint’s water was declared contaminated and undrinkable. Due to the population demographics of the city – 41.6% living below the poverty line, 56.6% Black – the issue of a lack of clean water in Flint has larger implications of discrimination and classism. There has been an utter lack of attention on and continuous coverage of the Flint water crisis, despite the fact that this crisis emerged in early 2014 and remains unresolved. Ask yourself – Are you okay with this complacency? Are you fine with the lack of media coverage? Are you going to stand by as nearly one hundred thousand Americans are denied a basic human right? Do you only selectively care about human rights? Do you get to choose who deserves to enjoy human rights? The answer is and always should be NO!

As you read this article right now, the citizens of Flint continue to lack clean water. In Standing Rock, we were fighting to prevent a contaminated water source, but in Flint, the water has already been declared contaminated! If you stood for Standing Rock, you must now fulfill your duty and stand with Flint. Will you join me in taking up arms and continue the fight for clean water?

We must mobilize. We must act. We must continue to stand in solidarity of the desparaged. We must not take this lying down.

Feature Image Source: Flickr

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