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Since Sunday night, more than 167 Native Americans and allies fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline have been injured by police, who attacked them with rubber bullets, tear gas, mace canisters and water cannons in freezing temperatures.

People who are against the Dakota Pipeline, which is planned to carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois through the Standing Rock Native American Reservation, are saying that it poses a huge threat to water safety since a leak would contaminate the Missouri River, an important water source for the reservation. The pipleine is also running through sacred sites and sacred land. “The chief executive of Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, said last week that he’s refusing to budge on the pipeline route,” Huffington Post states.

Jonathan Rabb, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and the founder of WatchTheYard.com, will travel to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation November 23rd and 24th to stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors. Rabb is using this trip to learn from the protectors how to best use the Watch The Yard platform to foster support for their movement from the Black community and in particular, find ways that members of Black fraternities/sororities from across the nation can help “protect the Water Protectors.”

Too often, Native American communities and the issues they face are erased from the mainstream political conversation. During Thanksgiving, Americans selectively focus on a single historical interaction between Native people and colonizers. Instead, this weekend Jonathan and the Watch The Yard team will use the site’s platform and the trip to do their part to take action against the ongoing militarized attacks on Standing Rock’s Water Protectors and their allies.

“Since April, when citizens of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation set up the Sacred Stone Camp, thousands of people have passed through and pledged support. Environmentalists and activist groups like Black Lives Matter and Code Pink have also stepped in as allies,” NPR’s Code Switch states.

“This is a struggle that no one can deny. What is happening to the Native community is wrong and it is my responsibility as someone who lives in this country to spread the word about what is going on to my particular community, the Black community,” Jonathan stated. “In a moment where minorities are increasingly threatened by state violence, it is important that Black people, as well as other minorities, are visibly there, standing at each other’s side, building coalitions and showing love.”

While major news networks are covering what is happening in North Dakota to some degree, Water Protectors have repeatedly called these organizations out for not telling the full story. “The people in Standing Rock need to be seen and heard as much as possible, Watch The Yard will do its part in making sure these people are heard by the Black community. We as Black people understand how news stories can be twisted to make demonstrators look violent when they are not, it has happened to our community multiple times this summer alone.”

“From Flint, MI to Standing Rock, all our peoples want is clean water and respect. Why would you deny that?” Rabb tweeted, pointing at the similarities between Standing Rock and the thousands of African-Americans who are still being poisoned by the city tap water in Flint, Michigan (the 8th largest city in the United States when it comes to percentage of African Americans).

After President Obama issued a state of emergency in response to the water crisis in Flint earlier this year, Watch The Yard created the Black Greek Water 4 Flint Fund which successfully raised money for the United Way of Genesee County to purchase water filters, bottled water, emergency support services and prevention efforts to the residents of Flint.

Jonathan sees this trip to Standing Rock as a continuation of Watch The Yard’s fight for social justice. “Our Native brothers and sisters are fighting for clean water. Not just for themselves but for us [Black people] and the entire earth. This is their sacred ground and I believe it is our duty to stand with them, support them and show them that Black people across the United States have their back,” he said. “Watch The Yard brings in up to 1 million Black college educated readers a month, we are trying to find the best ways for our readers to join together and help.”

“As a NUPE, the tenets and values of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. are an integral part of my life’s work. I am driven to ACHIEVE in my endeavors by fighting to rectify issues of socioeconomic injustice, and I leverage the education and privileges that I have been afforded in society to bring voice to issues that otherwise might go unnoticed,” Jonathan said quoting his fraternity brother Demar Lewis.

“I will always stand on the side of indigenous communities who are trying to protect their freedoms and dignities and I urge other members of the Divine 9, HBCUs, Black churches and the Black collegiate solidarity movement to support these people who are risking their lives and being hosed down in freezing weather, maced and attacked by dogs and rubber bullets to protect the earth that we all live on.”

In the meantime, Watch The Yard urges that the Black community ask questions and inform themselves about what is currently happening.

Click here to check out this very informative syllabus of reading material on the history of what is happening at Standing Rock: https://nycstandswithstandingrock.wordpress.com/standingrocksyllabus/

Here is list created by The Free Thought Project on ways you can help right now:

1. Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200. When leaving a message stating your thoughts about this subject please be professional.

2. Sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/…/stop-construction…

3. Donate to support the Standing Rock Sioux at http://standingrock.org/…/standing-rock-sioux-tribe…/

4. Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List: http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/

5. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

6. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund: https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf

7. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp gofundme account: https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp

8. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit: (202) 761-5903

9. Sign other petitions asking President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. https://act.credoaction.com/sign/NoDAPL

10. Call the executives of the companies that are building the pipeline:

a. Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6455 Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com

b. Glenn Emery Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6762 Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com

c. Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analyst Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 1300 Main St. Houston, Texas 77002 Telephone: (713) 989-2404 Michael.Waters@energytransfer.com

“The most effective means of showing support for this cause is to actively participate in protecting this sacred land. Anyone who is able to travel to the peaceful encampments is encouraged to do so. For those unable to make the journey to North Dakota, please utilize the alternate methods provided to show your support for the Standing Rock Sioux who have united over 100 tribes from across the U.S. Please join this effort to stop this pipeline, which desecrates sacred lands and has serious potential to damage or destroy the Standing Rock reservations lifeblood – its water.” – Jay Syrmopoulos

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Activism

The Davidson College Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Just Released This Video About Trump’s DACA Repeal

The brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha at Davidson College are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s DACA repeal.

The brothers of the Tau Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. recently released a video publicly standing against the actions to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – which provides a level of amnesty to certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children – with a six-month delay for current recipients.

On Tuesday, President Trump urged lawmakers to “do your job” with DACA.

In the statement that the chapter released, they stated that their chapter, “stands with the Dreamers and against the proposed DACA repeal.
This is about more than statistics or policy decisions. About 800,000 human beings currently hold DACA status in the U.S. These are our friends, our peers, our neighbors, our family and we have to stand against bigotry & xenophobia and fight with them now.”

Watch their full statement below.

Today, we want to make a public statement. The Tau Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. stands with the Dreamers and against the proposed DACA repeal. This is about more than statistics or policy decisions. About 800,000 human beings currently hold DACA status in the U.S. These are our friends, our peers, our neighbors, our family and we have to stand against bigotry & xenophobia and fight with them now. We ask that you fight with us in our aim to #DefendDACA by donating to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), United We Dream, The Immigrant Defence Project, etc., attending a protest, using social media as a platform to spread awareness regarding this human rights issue, working with the campus community and administration at your institutions to protect your peers, and calling your Congressional representatives. The numbers for the NC Senators and websites for donations are listed below. Sen. Tom Thillis: (919) 856-4630 Sen. Richard Burr: (800) 685-8916 https://action.aclu.org/donate-aclu?ms=web_horiz_nav_hp https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/unitedwedreamaction?refcode=homepagebutton https://www.immigrantdefenseproject.org/donate/ #AΦΑ #ΤΟ #DefendDACA

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The brothers urged the people watching to defend DACA and pointed them in the direction of organizations that are fighting for the rights of immigrants in the United States.

“We ask that you fight with us in our aim to #DefendDACA by donating to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), United We Dream, The Immigrant Defence Project, etc., attending a protest, using social media as a platform to spread awareness regarding this human rights issue, working with the campus community and administration at your institutions to protect your peers, and calling your Congressional representatives.

The numbers for the NC Senators and websites for donations are listed below.

Sen. Tom Thillis: (919) 856-4630
Sen. Richard Burr: (800) 685-8916″

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend these young brothers for speaking out and using their platform to help others. This is what it is all about.

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Activism

Kaepernick Just Donated $25,000 to Help Immigrant Youth Affected By Trump’s Repeal of DACA

San Fransisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick has decided to use his own money and the money he has made from his jersey sales to help the people of the Chicago area by supportingthe largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation to deal with Trump’s removal of DACA.

The 28-year -old member of Kappa Alpha Psi, who refused to stand during the national anthem during NFL games last year said he would donate the first $1 million he made from last season to organizations assisting communities affected by racial injustice and police brutality.

“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and be able to make the kind of money I do,” Kaepernick said. “I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in the position to succeed or given those opportunities to succeed,” he said last year.

“I will donate one million dollars plus all the proceeds of my jersey sales from the 2016 season to organizations working in oppressed communities, 100k a month for 10 months,” he said on his website.

One of these communities just so happens to be immigrant children who are currently being threatened by the repeal of DACA.

For his recent pledge, which was announced yesterday,  Colin donated $25,000 to United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation.

“We organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status,” the about section on United We Dream‘s website states.

According to Kaepernick’s website, the $25,000 will go toward the following:

  • Addressing the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth. Over 100,000  members. Current focus: Organize and work for immigrant children to keep DACA in force.
  • 10k for upcoming travel. Air, hotel, lodging, and ground transportation.  United We Dream recently held event in Washington DC and sent 300 dreamers to lobby to keep DACA. This budget will pay for 75-100 attendees for a similar rally upcoming.
  • 10k for series of upcoming local gatherings in NY, CT, TX, FL, NM. Facilities rent and security, transportation, food, technology
  • 5k for text service for the network of over 100,000 members.

Along with this $25,000 donation, Kaepernick has donated to DREAM (Formerly RBI Harlem) a baseball program in Harlem, Coalition For The Homeless, and War on Children.

 

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Activism

These Young Afro Latinas Reciting Victoria Santa Cruz’s “Me Gritaron Negra” Will Give You LIFE!

Me Gritaron NEGRA

Victoria Eugenia Santa Cruz Gamarra was an Afro-Peruvian choreographer, composer, and activist who is widely regarded as “the mother of Afro Peruvian dance and theatre.”

She lived from 1922 to 2004 and was one of the major players in the revival of Afro-Peruvian culture and Afrocentrism in Peru that took place during the 1960s and 1970s. In tribute of her impactful work, her poems, specifically “Me Gritaron NEGRA” (They Called Me Black) recited by young Afro-Peruvian and Afro-Ecuadorian girls have started to spread across the internet.

“Me Gritaron NEGRA” is a poem which follows Santa Cruz’s journey to accept and embrace her blackness, starts out with her telling the story of how at the a very young age started to shout “Negra” (the spanish word for Black) at her on the street everywhere she went. This shamed her into straightening her hair and wanting to lighten her skin but eventually she realized the beauty of her blackness and that the truth of this beauty was being hidden from her.

The original version of the poem recited by Santa Cruz is EXTREMELY powerful and might even give you chills.

What is even more powerful than the poem itself is that young Afro Latinas who are the age of Santa Cruz at the beginning of the story that she tells in the poem are now reciting the poem and the message is going viral. By reciting this poem at this young age, these girls, who are Black just like Santa Cruz, are able to take this woman’s story and find pride in it. They are able to put words to their struggles of living in a society with eurocentric beauty ideals and recite this peom as a reminder to themselves about how beautiful and strong they truly are.

Check out this video from Ecuador of a little girl reciting the poem.

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