On Veteran’s Day, 2016, the Middlebury chapter of Young Progressives Demanding Action (YPDA) organized a trip to the Burlington offices of Congressman Peter Welch and Senator Patrick Leahy to deliver letters calling for them to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which not only threatens the environment but desecrates Native American land protected by a treaty. The letter drop was planned before the election results, but the election of Donald Trump, who not only promised he will support the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline but stated that he will overturn President Obama’s executive order blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline, made the day of action even more pressing. Of all the things that could happen under a Trump administration, the damage done to the environment is one of the most powerful because we are at a turning point environmentally and if swift action is not taken now, our environment will become permanently damaged beyond repair.
After the letter drop was completed, the members of MiddYPDA attended the Burlington “Love Trumps Hate” rally to show our support for those who are most vulnerable by Trump’s administration. The rally in Burlington’s City Hall Park was peaceful, with many speakers sharing their fears of what might come as well as their hopes for a future America that is vigilant in the face of injustice and many shared tips for helping the most vulnerable.
–Rebecca Duras ’19