[Public Domain Photo]
Keep watch. This day is really important. December 5th is about to have great impact upon human lives and will have historical significance for a long time. Here are four reasons why:
December 5th was the date marked on the eviction notice as it was presented to thousands of Indigenous Water Protectors at the Oceti Sakowin Camp. Together, they have spent months engaged in nonviolent, direct action to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline, calling attention to the destruction it could bring to drinking water and sacred lands. Camping outside, and at times, enduring rubber bullets, dogs, water cannons, concussion grenades, and tear gas, the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota peoples of the Standing Rock Sioux have successfully resisted these efforts and turned the tide.
Last night, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not grant the easement needed for the project to continue. The Dakota Access Pipeline will not be permitted to cross under Lake Oahe. Instead, the Army Corps of Engineers will begin an environmental impact study to consider other routes.
The day could have moved toward eviction and potential violence. Instead, while there is still a great deal of work to be done, this is a day of victory for the Standing Rock Sioux. It gives us all hope in the power and efficacy of resistance and direct action.
The Murder of Walter Scott
December 5th may involve an announcement about the murder of Walter Scott and the trial of Michael Slager. On April 4, 2015, police officer Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott in South Carolina after pulling him over for a broken taillight. I have no qualms about calling this murder: Video footage clearly shows Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott five times in the back as he was running away. And that’s not all. After the shooting, Michael Slager dropped an object near Walter Scott’s body. It appears to be a taser. Prosecutors claim that this is planted evidence caught on video.
On Friday, the jury was in the midst of long deliberations when news broke. One juror is holding out, saying, “I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict,” in a letter to the court. The jury has requested to return to deliberations today at 9am.
This case is remarkably significant. If it is declared a mistrial, it will be a horrific day for justice. Could a case possibly be more clear? This is why people proclaim, “Black Lives Matter,” and assert it to the rooftops with cries, protests, and demands. So often, our justice system claims otherwise. If Michael Slager goes free, it will be remarkably troubling, striking fear, grief, and rage in the hearts of many.
And this leads us to next significant movement today: December 5th will be launch of the Injustice Boycott, involving major, long-awaited announcements. Initiated and planned by activist and journalist Shaun King and activists of color in local cities, the Injustice Boycott will make demands to increase police accountability and curb police violence.
A few months ago, King spoke and wrote that national protests have been effective in raising concern and awareness about police brutality, but they have not affected tangible changes in many places throughout the U.S. In order to make a greater impact, he realized we need an economic movement.
He announced that the Injustice Boycott will target entire cities and particular businesses in those places that have supported local injustices. People throughout the U.S. are invited to join and make change through economic pressure. It may take months. It may take years. But it is an important commitment toward a crucial set of outcomes.
The first three cities were announced this morning: 1) Standing Rock, 2) San Francisco, and 3) New York City. More details will follow at 12pm.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
Today is the 61st anniversary of the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott which played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement. Shaun King deliberately chose this date for the Injustice Boycott in order to honor the previous movement and express alignment with its power. Today, we honor activists of that era who paved the way for resistance and direct action.
Keep watch today. Pay attention to all the significance because these events will affect human lives. And get ready to participate with your convictions, your voices, your bodies, and your wallets.