The following report is from an anonymous contributor with Farmlands Fighting Pipelines, and discusses how the Bent Mountain community is uniting and winning against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).
One woman, resolute in a tree, has stayed 32 feet above the ground under the threat of legal action since April 1st. While her presence in the tree has stayed steady, there have been a multitude of developments since the news of Red Terry’s tree-sit went national a few days ago.
Public Pressure has been mounting on Governor Northam to do something about the situation. His office has deflected any responsibility onto the local law enforcement. However as the calls continue to come in from concerned citizens, something hard to quantify is changing on the ground, on the Terry’s centuries-old family land.
The police had been shining a floodlight directly at Red’s looking-hole in her tree-house during the night. However, starting on Saturday night, they began shining the light at the base of the tree instead.
As Mara Robbins was trying to tell Red about the moon, she lamented the fact that Red’s view would be obscured by the maple tree she is nailed to, as well as the floodlight.
When Robbins said “Sorry, Red, that’s probably gonna make it hard to see the moon.”, Red responded “I can’t see it through that hole”. Then, from the ground below, an unexpected voice said “We’ll try and not shine the light right on you.” This signaled a major shift in tone from the Roanoke Police.
In addition to a decrease in torture tactics, the police have relaxed the starvation techniques used on Red. She is now receiving food and water from law enforcement, who maintain that this was their plan all along. However, on Apr 13th, the PIO for Roanoke County Amy Whitaker had been contacted regarding Red.
“They will no longer be allowed to receive supplies from supporters on the ground. However, anything that those two individuals need will be available to them when they come down from the tree.” Whitaker said.
Whatever the case may be, ground support is in high spirits as they feel they are winning this fight. Politicians came by the camp Monday, and Red is now a national celebrity.
The crowd on the ground is a local one. Families from Bent Mt and the community come up to Red to donate supplies for the camp, talk, tell stories, play music, and relax by the fire. Children play in a nearby creek that is threatened by the MVP.
The family has not always been opposed to giving up sections of their land for the public good. In fact, the Terry family donated land for a school to be built not far from where Red sits today. Now the community is coming by in support of Red and her friends on the ground Camp W.A.N.G.A. They are going to resist eminent domain for private gain to the bitter end.
About a half a mile down the road from Red’s camp is Camp Kickass. This is the camp where Red’s daughter, Minor, is located. She has been more well-behaved than her mother, and had been given a smaller perimeter from which supporters can see her and talk to her.
The ground support at Camp Kickass includes Terry family members, who stay to provide emotional support for their mom and sister. However, both camps are now enjoying a breath of relief as their family appears to be safe, for the time being.
Ground Support for Red’s Tree-Sit can be reached via the Farmlands Fighting Pipelines Facebook Page.