By: Ashley Summerfield
Local activists gather at Marathon Petroleum
On Sunday Jan. 29, local activists gathered in Findlay to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In a demonstration titled “Standing in Solidarity with Standing Rock,” participants shared their support for the habitants of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Founders of a local group, Findlay United Civil Rights Alliance, organized this demonstration to take place at the entrance of the Marathon Petroleum World Headquarters in downtown Findlay. Organizers used the location as a platform to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order for the rejuvenation of the plan to construct the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Katie Finneran, founder of Findlay United Civil Rights Alliance and event organizer, said that her organization also held organized protests in Findlay on Election Day and Inauguration Day, as well some members attending the recent Women’s March in Washington.
Finneran used Facebook to promote the event and was very pleased with the turnout. Only forming the group just months ago, she was happy to have a wide variety of people at the demonstration.
“We have children, students, a Native American, members of the LGBTQ community, and everything in between,” said Finneran.
Throughout the duration of the 2-hour protest, passersby honked and waved to show support of the cause. The group also led chants, while displaying signs reading “Clean water is a human right”, “Flag City stands with Standing Rock”, or “Honest people honor treaties”.
In attendance were members of the Findlay United Civil Rights Alliance, residents of Hancock County, University of Findlay students, BGSU students, and members of surrounding communities.
“To those that say protests don’t work, I say look at Martin Luther King,” said Allie Rodenbucher, BGSU student.
Rodenbucher says that she realizes that these are issues that will affect the rest of her life. She encourages others like her to become well-informed on the issues that arise.
“We need to not just trust what the news says,” said Rodenbucher.
Rodenbucher says that it is our job to sort the facts from what she considers, “the bias that a lot of the media has.”
Also in attendance were a handful of Trump supporters, displaying “Make America Great Again” hats and flags. The infamous red truck, which has made itself prominent in the Findlay area throughout this election cycle, also parked itself on the street directly in front of the demonstration.
Trump supporters in attendance shared that they were there to “check it out” and didn’t intend to cause any problems. Trump supporters shared that they were pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere of the protest.
For Finneran, this issue is greater than an oil pipeline. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said that the DAPL would directly pollute the only water source available to the area; the Mississippi River.
“What we need to do is put the Native Americans at the front of the issue,” said Finneran.