Kentucky Stands with Standing Rock

Protestors display signs at Kentucky Stands with Standing Rock in Lexington, Ky., on Friday, January 27, 2017. Hundreds of protestors gathered in front of the Fayette County Circuit Court to protest in solidarity with Native American tribes affected by construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff

Supporters gathered at the Fayette County District Courthouse to hear speakers spread the word about the importance of standing in solidarity with those at Standing Rock on Friday evening, Jan. 27.

Creator of the event Psera Newman said she never thought that it would receive so much attention. With the help of Landra Lewis, the emcee for the night, she introduced several Indigenous speakers and musicians, and thanked everyone for their support on such short notice.

UK graduate Rachel Thunder-Landham has a brother who protested at Standing Rock. She said she watched protesters as protesters were blasted with cold water in freezing temperatures, and attacked by dogs. Thunder said in her call to action that regardless of sex, social status and race, the people must gather as one.

"Today I do not only watch and listen. Today I will not be quiet and today, all of our voices will be heard,” Thunder said over cheers and applause. 

Several social justice groups, like the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, were there as well, passing out information about how one can get involved after the event was over.

“I’m going to stay involved as far as staying informed, reading constantly, and trying to listen to the voices that need to be heard the most,” UK graduate Emily Handy said.

The Facebook event was created on Tuesday, Jan. 24, shortly after President Donald Trump signed an executive order allowing for the advancement of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, a controversial topic that has been making waves in the news since protests started picking up mid-year 2016.

Handy doesn’t believe this will be the end of movements like this one. “I mean people are just frustrated and angry, and they just want to make sure the people in power know it,” Handy said.

The proposed pipelines can transfer as many as 570,000 barrels of crude oil every day from North Dakota to Illinois. They would be placed under the Missouri River, which serves as a primary source of drinking water for nearly 10,000 people in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.