Filed under: Action, Climate Change, Environment, Midwest, Political Prisoners
Report on recent interventions in Iowa City in support of Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Matoya.
At noon on October 4th, Greta Thunberg spoke in Downtown Iowa City for the Climate Strike. Thousands of people were in attendance.
A few days ago it was announced that Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya were being indicted on federal charges for their actions in delaying the Dakota Access Pipeline, facing 100+ years maximum.
Local Iowans, thankful for Jess and Ruby’s selfless actions to protect the water and planet, dropped a banner at the Climate Strike to support them. Raising awareness to other Iowans and to the world of their sacrifice and to begin a campaign of complete solidarity with these brave pipeline resistors.
In 2016, two Catholic Workers named Ruby and Jess disabled equipment being used to build the DAPL in solidarity with water defenders at Standing Rock. They are now facing 100 years in prison.
— Tar Sands Blockade (@kxlblockade) October 4, 2019
A flyer was also distributed that read:
Dear Greta and fellow climate strikers,
We want to share a story with you. Two of our friends saw what you see: a crisis on a scale humanity has never before experienced, and a political and economic system that is not only guilty of inaction, but of the active destruction of a future for life on this planet.
Two women, Ruby Montoya and Jess Reznicek are facing a up to 100 years in prison for engaging in direct acts of sabotage against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Jess and Ruby openly admitted to disabling DAPL’s construction machines here in Iowa. In response to a call to action launched from Standing Rock by indigenous communities across the continent, they answered the call to save our planet and stop an oil pipeline in the way that, deep down, you probably know is the only realistic way to do so.
On their own, they broke open the pipeline while it was under construction. They burned the valves that open and close it. They burned the equipment used by those constructing it. They didn’t hurt anyone. They injured only the profits of those who benefit from destruction of the earth.
Like you, they too wanted to fight for the things they love. Like you, they were filled with sadness and anger from a young age, when they learned about the systems destroying the possibility of a future, reaping profit from the destruction of the land and the people. Like you, they were courageous and bold, risking ridicule and their own freedom to stand against this system.
Ruby and Jess were just two of many courageous warriors who took direct action in defense of life on this planet during the battle against DAPL. For those of us who fought the pipeline, marching was important, but not enough. We needed to actually stop it, not beg politicians to do so. We needed to get in the way of the pipeline, the corporate hacks, and the mercenary cops of all kinds. Some of us attached our bodies to construction equipment. Some stood in front of pipeline workers. Some stood in the way of their horrible machines. Some stood in the way of the police, whose job it is to harm those who fight — who really fight — for the earth. Some of us built barricades, some of us threw stones, and some of us, like Ruby and Jess, broke their machines and their pipes with fire.
The thing about Jess and Ruby, though, is that they didn’t just do these heroic acts. They held a press conference and admitted to these acts in front of the world. The police, in their efforts to get the world to ignore them, took almost three years to arrest them. They were just indicted this week, in Des Moines, Iowa. The government thought that if they waited long enough, they could prevent the power of Jess and Ruby’s acts from being an inspiration.
But the police and the government didn’t count on you turning up in Iowa this week, Greta.
We’d like to think there is a deeper reason for your being in Iowa, of all places you could be on this beautiful earth. We think you are here to use your voice to lift up the names of Ruby Montoya and Jess Reznicek. To show them to the world as exemplars of people who actually took the situation we are in, as a species, seriously. Exemplars of people who acted with courage and maturity under our shared and dire circumstances.
You must know it. The American government will never do what is necessary. This is a government that had to fight a civil war to end slavery, and then managed to continue slavery by other names down to this day. This is not a government that can change the way the earth and its living creatures demand. But don’t for a moment confuse the American government with the people of America, who are just as capable of heroism and selflessness as any people anywhere. Ruby and Jess attest to that. They are true warriors and they deserve your loud and vocal support. They also deserve to be free.
We ask, therefore, just a simple favor. Take a moment to publicly acknowledge the acts of Jess Reznicek and Ruby Montoya. Take a moment to demand their freedom, and amnesty for all who fight the machines of those who destroy the earth.
We ask, also, that you to join us at the start of Jess Reznicek’s trial on December 2nd in Des Moines, Iowa.
You have brought so much courage and dignity to the struggle for the earth. And as you must know, we have been here for decades, in the same struggle. But please remember, as a visible and powerful warrior, it is your responsibility to help your comrades who are in the clutches of the enemy. Please stand up for Ruby and Jess, and let the world hear of their courage.
With admiration, solidarity, and a promise to risk everything,
Some Water Protectors