You may have noticed that this week brought a particular trend to your Facebook news feed: most likely, you witnessed several of your friends “checking in” to Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota in an effort to support the Sioux who are protesting the Dakota Access pipeline.
Primary arguments against the pipeline include that if it were to break it would have tremendous negative impact on the surrounding environment, that construction of the pipeline feeds into enormous corporate greed, and that the path of the pipeline goes straight through sacred Sioux land. This is a group of people who have long-suffered injustice at the hands of the U.S. Government — the pipeline is just the latest example.
After harsh criticism towards the police who had so far responded and made arrests in the midst of this peaceful protest, word spread Monday that the local police in Standing Rock were using Facebook check-ins to aide in their arrests of those protesting the pipeline.
Therefore, in a Facebook campaign that spread across the country, news feeds across America filled with check ins at Standing Rock. Participants were urged to post a separate clarifying message to their Facebook friends to explain why they had checked in at Standing Rock, spread word of the effort and keep the check-ins coming in.
Since the Facebook campaign began, conflicting reports about whether or not police in North Dakota had been monitoring the check-ins began to emerge, yet Facebook continued to see thousands join in.
But does it matter? Whether or not these check-ins have made a direct difference, it has brought awareness to the Sioux Reservation and those standing in solidarity with them in North Dakota. It has reinforced that Facebook and social media can be utilized for more than selfies and the documentation of every meal you’ve ever had. Our inter-connectedness can be used to create positive change as we grow more aware of our neighbors that may be in need of our support.
Is there more we can do? Yes. Educate yourself about these and all political issues, support environmental protection and preservation and donate if you are able.
In the most tumultuous political climate any of us can remember, remember to stay checked in, both literally and emotionally, to what is happening around you.
Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.