ECO students gathered Monday afternoon to encourage the SF State community to stand with supporters demanding protection for Standing Rock by contacting their local representatives to push President Obama to take action.
Liana Derus, president of ECO students, created the Facebook event called Letter Writing And Calling Reps For Standing Rock over the weekend when coming back to the Bay Area after the holidays.
“This is a huge environmental critical issue happening. Human lives are on the line, both directly and indirectly,” Derus said.
On the event page there is a pinned post from the ECO Students at SFSU with links to information on who to contact to offer support, tips to help students who get anxious when making calls and other sources of information to take action.
After two hours of writing, Derus put 10 letters in the mail directed to California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Governor Jerry Brown and other representatives to take several actions: Push Obama to call off the National Guard at Standing Rock; send the Department of Justice to Standing Rock to review the human rights violations being committed by law enforcement and the Dakota Access Pipeline company; and direct the United States Army Corps of Engineers to require a full environmental impact statement.
“I’ve been wanting to do this and today I got this motivation,” said Hayley Woods, a business major and president of the Outdoor Adventure Club.
The Army Corps of Engineers sent a letter to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe last Friday, a day after Thanksgiving, informing them that the areas where protesters are camping will be closed on Dec. 5 to avoid harm due to harsh winter conditions.
Drea Nieto, a double major in biology and Latino/a studies, who came back on Sunday after a week and a half at Standing Rock, said it’s important to contact local and federal government to support the cause. She said sending letters, making calls and donating money are a few ways to help if you can’t go.
“Good organizing does not only happen in the front line” Nieto said.
Violence escalated over the past week at Standing Rock, where law enforcement used tear gas, rubber bullets and cold water to disperse protesters despite the low temperatures and the peaceful protest of hundreds of people against that Dakota Access Pipeline, according to NBC News.
“Trying on every level that you can, is the most that you can do,” said Tom Evans, a environmental major and member of ECO students.
Derus reserved a room at J. Paul Leonard Library and bought stamps and envelopes for students so they could take action.
“It’s really to get people started and send them in the right direction,” Derus said, “We are all learning together.”