- Associated Press - Friday, September 9, 2016

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The Lawrence City Commission has issued letters of solidarity with Black Lives Matter and American Indians protesting the Dakota Access pipeline after about 20 people staged a sit-in.

The protesters’ sit-in delayed Tuesday’s meeting by about 45 minutes. They left after the commission decided to issue an initial statement of support and called for a continuation of the meeting Wednesday to issue official letters.

Trinity Carpenter, an organizer with the Lawrence chapter of Black Lives Matter, told commissioners that issues affecting people of color need more attention and urged them to “do better,” the Lawrence Journal-World (https://bit.ly/2ccGbR1 ) reported.

Commissioners initially said the letters would be written within 24 hours, but that offer wasn’t immediately accepted. Carpenter called them “well thought out” but said it shouldn’t have taken a sit-in to get the commission to act. Members of the group said the Black Lives Matter letter was originally requested weeks ago.

The four-state pipeline won’t run through Kansas, but Lawrence is home to Haskell Indian Nations University, the only federally operated tribal university in the country.

When asked what actions the commission would take to show it supported people of color, Mayor Mike Amyx said the commission would work with them and continue to listen.

“I think that you have our pledge that we’re going to be working together on a whole lot of things,” Amyx said. “I think that we can be held accountable that way.”


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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