To all our relations,
September has been a productive month of exciting developments in AIC-Organizing. We have included a number of links in this blog post to give our readers the opportunity to delve deep into our developments like winning Indigenous Peoples Day in Chicago or #NoDAPL solidarity actions.
Before we get into the details I would like to invite you to become a member of the American Indian Center of Chicago by filling out our online membership application. Our goal is to reach a membership level of 2,000 individuals by the year’s end. This membership list enables us to develop and support our programming and organizing straight-up grassroots. http://membership.aicchicago.org/Sign-Up
September 9th, #NoDAPLChi and AIC teamed up rallying in support of Standing Rock Water Protectors. About 1000 people, members of our community and allies, marched with us in support of Standing Rock. Our goal was to generate media exposure for Standing Rock Water Protectors. This day of action was a concerted effort in hundreds of cities coast to coast. Many news outlets covered the Chicago demonstration and several articles were written making our goal to get the word out and expanding our base of support a huge success! Chicago Tribune Video of March WGN Coverage Huffington Post coverage
September 14th, Chicago City Council passed a resolution proclaiming October 10th as Indigenous People's Day in Chicago! This development is the culmination of two years of organizing and voter engagement. Many thanks go out to our community members, Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative, Ald. Pawar (47th Ward), and Ald. Carlos Rosa (35th Ward) for taking a lead in this initiative. There is still much work to do to abolish Columbus Day in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Since Columbus Day is a State holiday, we will be taking this effort to the next level, pushing to get a referendum on the ballot in the 2018 Illinois Mid-term election. This strategy will create maximum exposure to our cause educating Illinois voters and upholding democracy to a higher level. Read more from Lastrealindians.com DNA Info Coverage of Chicago City Council Meeting where Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution was proposed
September 17th & 18th, AIC Organizing had a super productive Powwow Weekend registering 80 new voters, 256 people took a pledge to vote (we will be sending reminders), and expanded our base to 125 new members! Our volunteers and supporters are just awesome.
September 22nd, AIC Organizing and #NoDAPLChi teamed up to deliver a 15 passenger van load of winter clothes, cold weather gear, hygienics and medical supplies to the Sacred Stone Camp in Canonball, ND. AIC Organizing was in Standing Rock taking pictures and interviewing water protectors. One of the main things we learned from our trip is that the camp has developed on Sacred Ground and Water Protectors have developed a stronger sense of spirituality and unity that has not been seen in a long time. It’s clear that this movement is turning into a real transformative movement for our generation. People are literally coming from all over Turtle Island to contribute supplies, labor, and prayer. It was reported that 7500 have been at the Sacred Stone Camp in ND. This is what a prophecy looks like! Many thanks go to the Native Voice Network and Marguerite Casey Foundation, friends, and family that contributed in donation and prayer allowing us to make this journey.
For people that would like to continue taking action for Indigenous Peoples Day or Standing in solidarity with Standing Rock you can do so by doing the following:
Indigenous Peoples Day - Attend an October 10th Indigenous Peoples Day Event. If you would like to volunteer to help, please shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The American Indian Center will be joining UIC’s Native American Support Program and Native American Student Organization with their rally and events.
Register to Vote - We probably don’t have to tell you how important this election will be for Native American sovereignty, social justice issues, and environmental justice. If you are not registered to vote, you can do so online https://ova.elections.il.gov/ . If you are registered to vote, convince a friend or relative to register. Every vote counts because we will make it count with organizing and diligence.
#StandWithStandingRock Call to Action List
Divest from banks supporting DAPL. You can access this list and find examples of what you can say to a bank executive here in this article from YES magazine.
Call for the Army Corps of Engineers Permit to the Dakota Access Pipeline be rescinded.
Call the White House - (202)456-1111 or (202) 456-1414
Call the Army Corps of Engineers - (202) 761-5903
Call North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple - (701) 328-2200
Call or email your congressional representatives and senators - Use this site as a resource.
Donate to the Sacred Stone Camp and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Donate items list - http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/
Donate to legal defense fund - https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf?ref=sh_25rPQa
Donate money for supplies - Official Site for donating to Standing Rock for encampment supplies
We are also asking people to continue support by reading articles and sharing updates on social media with friends and relatives using the hashtags: #StandWithStandingRock #NoDAPL #MniWiconi #WaterIsLife #NoDAPLChi .
The next #NoDAPL Chicago meeting will be on September 9th. Facebook event page .
On October 1st, join #MississippiStands as they bring the movement to the Mississippi River where the pipeline will also be crossing. Facebook event page.
There’s a lot that we can accomplish if everyone gives a little, stays informed, and active at every level of resistance. By this we mean, grassroots organizing, direct action, prayer, and voting! Every Native Vote counts because we make it count!
David Bender, Community Organizer
American Indian Center of Chicago