Shailene Woodley’s Arrest Brings Awareness

Celebrities wear many hats. During elections, they show support and contempt with candidates; for many companies, they can be spokespersons who live and breathe by their products; some are even activists who fight for causes they deem just. Shailene Woodley, the star of the "Divergent" movies, recently used her celebrity status to bring light to a startling issue occurring in the Midwest. Woodley used Facebook Live to stream video of her getting arrested during a peaceful protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Her stream reached roughly 40,000 viewers and brought massive amounts of attention to an important issue.

What is the Dakota Access oil pipeline?

The potential pipeline would be 1,172 miles long and run within a half-mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, according to NBC news’ website. The pipeline would cross underneath the Missouri river, and opponents of the pipeline say it will negatively affect drinking water as well as disturb sacred tribal sites. The protestors were asked by police to leave the area they were in because they were trespassing. Shailene’s video shows them leaving and later reveals a surprise when she returns to her RV. Police were waiting to arrest her, and when Shailene begins to question the reasons behind her arrest and the fact that she was the only person being arrested at the time, the officer refuses to answer questions. Shailene doesn’t stop asking, though, and the officer finally answers, saying she was the only one identified trespassing.

Shailene’s status may have been the only reason she was arrested because she was streaming the entire protest to 40,000 people, but her arrest brought an outpouring of support from her followers—not only for Shailene but also for the cause itself. By the end of the protest, 27 other water defenders were arrested. Shailene posted bail for herself and the 27 others in North Dakota. If you want to check out her Facebook Live stream, here’s a link.