Name: Samantha (Sam) Smyth
Fun Fact: I rode on an airplane nine times before I was one- didn’t waste time racking up my fossil fuel calories!
What made you want to join Divest Appalachian?
I heard about the Our Generation Our Choice protest through a member of Divest Appalachian and concluded there’d be no better opportunity than attending my first protest than in the nation’s capital! Afterwards I made a conscious effort to get involved with divestment work and direct actions. The welcoming, genuine, and forward-thinking individuals who taught and continue to teach me the ins and outs of divestment are what keeps me involved and motivated to keep fighting!
When I joined, the campaign was switching tactics; moving from working within the system, to harnessing student power. The root of the change was due to the necessity to include environmental racism and justice into our narrative as opposed to simply dealing with the bureaucracy of investments. This hit home for me because less than a year prior, my hometown, Baltimore made its voice heard. Hundreds of people hit the streets to protest police brutality and institutionalized racism. Institutions that were lawfully suppose to protect and uplift their community members were radically against the people. I experienced my city being occupied by the United States Armed Forces, I experienced a mandatory curfew, and I experienced the not so subtle side-taking between family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. To see my home wrought in violent polarization by forces larger than my tangibility to fix made me realize I had been blinded and misinformed about the real state of my city and country for nineteen years.
What does #ResistRejectDenial mean to you?
Douglas Adams once said, "All opinions are not equal. Some are a great deal more robust sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.” We will not let our government argue or legitimize the “fact” that climate change is not real or that it is a hoax. We must disavow the blatant disregard for our well-beings and futures by climate deniers in office. We must stand up for the millions of people who are dying at the hands of powerful, morally corrupt individuals’ who deny climate change. We must resist the notion that citizens do not have a voice and that elected officials call the shots. The time to stand up against Trump has never been more urgent than now.
While many of us are in shock, and even grieving, over the result over last Tuesday’s election, we cannot escape the reality that Donald J. Trump has been chosen to lead our country and represent the interests of the American people. But one thing we feel certain about in the face of a Trump presidency is that our work is more important than ever. With Obama’s failure to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, the impending Atlantic Coast Pipeline across NC, VA, and WV, and the increasing number of climate refugees being displaced everyday, there is so much at stake for young people, women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and indigenous peoples. We knew this before the election of Donald Trump, but now we are more determined to pursue our work than ever before.
For us, this means facilitating those difficult conversations with our peers, family, and friends we’ve been avoiding for years. It means telling a better story that resonates with those who saw hope in Donald Trump on November 9th. It means ousting democratic elites and instead building a movement of progressives that we can actually believe in. It means cultivating a vision for a just future that is worth fighting for. It means reminding ourselves and others that we have more collective power as people than our new president-elect.
We know that the fossil fuel industry helps hold up Trump’s presidency, that he will give them the green light to continue destroying communities, and that both human and non-human life cannot afford to wait four years. So we are joining thousands of students across the country to fight back and stand in solidarity with communities taking beautiful, creative action against the fossil fuel industry.
Particularly in this political moment, we need our university to stand up for us in powerful and instrumental ways. The climate crisis is interwoven throughout all of the issues our world faces today and it’s time for Appalachian State University to stand on the side of justice, protect its students, faculty, and staff, divest from the fossil fuel industry, and reinvest in a Just Transition away from fossil fuels. Whose side are you on, App State?
So now what?
We recognize that many folks feel the need to take action right now. There were many campaigns and movements already fighting before this election and they need your energy! To folks feeling lost - there’s no need to completely reinvent the wheel :) Fossil Free App State invites you to come to our meetings on Tuesday evenings at 6:45 in PSU Snake Mountain #136