On Monday and Tuesday of this week, three of us from RAMPS took the Everybody’s Kitchen bus down to the Dallas area to support our allies at the Tar Sands Blockade. Here in Texas, grassroots activists have been resisting transcanada’s pipeline construction for weeks, even in the face of extreme police brutality. We’re here to help put on the action camp happening this weekend by helping to set up camp, leading some workshops, and, of course, bringing a kitchen!
Folks here in Texas have been using lockdowns and a tree village to resist some of the first construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the tar sands mines in Canada to Texas refineries. While the tar sands strip mining threatens the land of native peoples in Canada, the construction of the pipeline threatens the farms of folks from Montana to Texas, as well as the Ogallala aquifer, which provides drinking water to millions. Transcanada is using intimidation and iminent domain to sieze land along the route from those who live there, pushing forward despite permit denial from the government and dire warnings from climate scientists. Like Mountaintop Removal Mining, the Keystone Pipeline extensions will push out local residents, pollute drinking water, kill wildlife, and contribute to global warming.
While we believe strongly in the importance of this fight, the decision to leave West Virginia at this time was very difficult for those of us who made it. Larry Gibson’s memorial is this weekend, at the same time as the action camp. Because Larry was such a hero to all of us, the thought of missing his memorial was a very painful one. At the same time, we believe that Larry would have understood our need to fight a battle so similar to the one he fought. At Judy Bonds’ memorial service, Larry Gibson indicted us to take to the streets and fight for Justice. That was how he wanted to be remembered, he said.
Right now, many folks in RAMPS are working hard on the home front. We’re gearing up for the fall summit, building toward future actions, and thinking a whole lot about Larry’s life and what the movement will look like in his wake. Larry Gibson’s memorial service will be held from 1:15-6:00PM on October 14th at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium in downtown Charleston. If you want to go, please RSVP to this event on facebook or with the Keepers of the Mountains Foundation; Larry touched many lives and we want as many people as possible to be able to join together to share their memories and celebrate his life.
Whether in the mountains of West Virginia or the plains of Texas, we hope that we can fight wisely and bravely, in a way that would make Larry proud.