A Call for Justice

Our series continues with an exploration of Haverford student experiences phonebanking. The Clerk’s Katie Rodgers decided to participate and see first hand how Haverfordians have been making change. 

Haverford students have started phoning in for justice. An unaffiliated group of students have held phone banks  this fall semester for protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some of the students come from Haverfordians for a Livable Future, HLF, but other students organized it out of independent interest. On December 2, I joined one of these phone banks and spoke with some of the students involved. The Dakota Access Pipeline is an underground oil pipeline that is routed to go from North Dakota to Iowa.

Students made calls and wrote letters to banks, government officials, and more during this action. Scripts were provided specific to the entity being called. One of the major targets of the action was the Army Corps of Engineers. Roughly 15 different student showed up to this event over the course of the three and a half hours.

“Standing Rock is one of the most important civil rights actions of our time and we have a real opportunity to make change. So call your representatives, write letters, ask about actions going on in the area, and you can make a difference,” said Hannah Krohn ‘17.

Students joked about who had worst hold music – it was the White House – and ate snacks. The CPGC lent a notepad to write letters on. People came in and out between 10:00 AM and 1:30 to make calls. Students were delighted to find out the list they were using was outdated, as some of the groups they called had already divested.

Paul Wynkoop ‘20 attended this action and been involved in other events related to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“The action today has been going very well. We’ve had quite a few people come in and we’ve had quite a few calls made. I’m happy with the progress we’ve made and it sounds like a lot of the companies are aware of the issues people have raised and we’ve already had some of the banks pull out since we began calling two weeks ago. I think we’ve had good success,” he said.

“I think that the primary reason I’m involved is because of Indigenous right snad I think the US has a bad history of ignoring the rights of indigenous people and basically anyone who’s not white and so I think that this is important that we give tribes the respect that they deserve. And I think the secondary reason among other things is that climate action is really important especially if we don’t do something about climate change it’s really going to come back to hurt humanity as a species. I think those are the most important things to me. There are various other reasons but those are the main two for me.” Wynkoop said.

Callie Kennedy, one of the leaders of the Divestment group stopped by to give moral support, and said “You guys are amazing.”

For Evan Klasky ‘19, this was his first phone bank.

“I had never done it before so the experience itself was new. And learning about this kind of civic engagement was a positive experience for me as a student and a global citizen of the United States of America.” Klasky said.

A Bryn Mawr student also came to the action.  

The Pipeline is “Five hundred years of colonialism and genocide against indigenous peoples. This is the new form of them giving people small pox blankets basically. They are freezing them to death and starving them to death,” said Julia Tanenbaum BMC ‘17.

Following this phone bank was another phone bank for protecting Philadelphia as a Sanctuary City.

The phone banks have continued this semester, most recently occurring Jan. 27 in Stokes 119, sponsored by HLF. For more information about phone banking on-campus, or to share comments or anecdotes, please e-mail our Editor-in-Chief Maurice Rippel at mrippel@haverford.edu 

 

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