Scrolling Headlines:

Active Minds strives to start conversation about mental health, end stigma -

March 28, 2017

Native American Student Association plans for powwow after travelling to Native Nations Rise March in Washington D.C. -

March 28, 2017

Black Student Union aims to be a strong voice for the African-American community on UMass’ campus -

March 28, 2017

UMass Students for Reproductive Justice continue fighting for student rights -

March 28, 2017

UMass notebook: Celtics assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry reportedly interviewed for a second time Monday for men’s basketball head coaching vacancy -

March 28, 2017

UMass softball anxiously awaits start of conference play with doubleheader against BU looming Thursday. -

March 28, 2017

UMass baseball gets its long-awaited homecoming Tuesday against Northeastern -

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Have you popped your bubble? -

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The atrophy of activism: a message for student protesters -

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Josh Odam spreads succinct messages through Free Negro University clothing line -

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Emmi Beuger’s day off – Interview with Kate Leddy -

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Fourteen random ‘treat yourself’ items for $25 and under -

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Student Activism Special Issue Preview Video -

March 27, 2017

Anthropology professor holds lecture on violence and policymaking -

March 27, 2017

Student Activism Special Issue 2017 -

March 27, 2017

Congressmen McGovern and Ellison discuss progressive politics under Trump administration on Saturday -

March 27, 2017

SGA President Anthony Vitale and Vice President Lily Wallace promise to improve assistance to student activists next year -

March 27, 2017

Editor’s note: UMass works because they do -

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The UMass club that is un-beelievable -

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Interview with Ghazah Abbasi, Sanctuary Campus Movement organizer -

March 27, 2017

Non-violent direct action in Amherst Center against big banks’ pipeline funding

Hayley Johnson/Collegian

The below-freezing temperatures early Saturday morning didn’t put a stop to the non-violent direct action in front of the Bank of America in Amherst. Three local residents locked themselves to large barrels to take a stand against funders of the Dakota Access Pipeline and Trans-Pecos Pipeline.

Pioneer Valley residents, Marc Osten, Adrie Lester and Steven Botkin sat between four 55-gallon drums with fake oil running down their faces, surrounded by caution tape. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, TD Bank and Citibank logos were displayed on each of the drums.

Similar to the water ceremony at TD Bank in Amherst on Dec. 5, 2016, this guerilla street theater encouraged citizens to take their money out of big banks and set up accounts in small, local banks.

Lester, a New Salem resident said, “We have tables set up today that give people really clear, easy instructions about which banks they can move their money to, how to do that, letters that are already typed up that they can just sign their names to.”

“There are people right now in South Dakota, Florida, West Texas, around the country who are really trying to resist this continued session with fossil fuels and the absolute insane perpetuation of a war against native peoples that’s been going on for more than 200 years in this country,” Osten, an Amherst resident said. “So we’re here to really try to communicate to people that these are issues that matter to them too.”

Georganne Greene, a minster from Pelham and police and emergency liaison for the action said, “The police were here when we got here, they were very cooperative in letting us set up…Our purpose is education, not to be disrespectful in any way… I’m so proud to be part of this, to have a chance to give back to this Earth that’s given so much to us.”

The protest did not attract a large crowd, but Osten, the main organizer of the action, is satisfied with the effects he believes it will have on the community.

“There were 1,300 shares…off of our live feed. And I know that at least a dozen of those shares were by major media outlets…I would guess that we are in the hundreds of people who are going to divest just based on this action, if we could count I wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers are like that,” he said.

Giovana Castro, a sophomore at UMass majoring in social thought and political economy stood at a table to educate people on the importance of divesting from big banks.

She explained that her role was the education part of “educate, agitate, organize,” an idea that has been around for over a century.

“I’m here because this nation was founded on a genocide of indigenous people, and the continuous colonization of indigenous people and indigenous lands…This pipeline is another instance in which we’re recolonizing indigenous land, sacred indigenous land…We want people to know why is this important and why are we here,” said Castro.

Police monitored the action, but did not ask the protesters to stop or leave at any point.

The action came to an end between 11:30 a.m. and noon, a decision made by the organizers.

Osten said, “We basically had a discussion with [the police] and we decided that we felt as if we had accomplished our mission for the day…it was a negotiation and also an acceptance that there are a lot of resources needed today to help keep students in the area safe and that’s a serious thing, and our objective is not to have people be unsafe, but the exact opposite.”

“There will be actions in Northampton…we will not go away…this is not a campaign that is going away,” said Osten.

A goal moving forward for these local citizen activists is to find a way for the town of Amherst to divest from TD Bank and Bank of America.

Hayley Johnson can be reached at hkjohnson@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @hayleyk_johnson.

 

 

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