NC APPPL’s first organizing project concluded Saturday with a boisterous, yet heart-felt rally just outside the gates of a Duke Energy gas plant south of Hamlet, NC. The Walk To Protect Our People And The Places We Live (Stop The Pipeline) covered one hundred seventy miles over two weeks time along the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline from the Virginia line to Pembroke, NC and then west to Hamlet along a proposed spur. Our walkers were on the roads from March 4th to March 18th.
Over three hundred people participated in the Walk, some for just a day and others for the entire time. When Emily Saba of Charlotte, one of the youngest thru walkers, told the assembled crowd in Hamlet that the two weeks of the trip felt like a lifetime’s worth of moments, she was referring not only to the miles she had walked but also to rallies we staged in local communities, educational events, press interviews, film screenings, and other events along the way we initiated.
After the rally, our organizers and participants reflected on all the Walk had achieved. The consensus was that its most important accomplishment was deepening relationships up and down the pipeline’s proposed route and across the state. The Walk made contact with and built trust among the many county-level pipeline resistance groups and several state groups, as well, effectively knitting them into a more united whole. It was also successful in hammering home our key messages to the public about the pipeline, namely that it is unneeded, costly, harmful, and discriminatory.