Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Today, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to read about Eric Klein, founder of CAN-DO.org and the Ride for Lights Campaign.
Award-winning disaster relief agency CAN-DO, as highlighted on Oprah’s “Big Give,” proudly announces the launch of their Ride for Lights Campaign, to raise awareness and the funds needed to put an end to the abuses and human rights violations taking place today on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota.
Right now people are forced to live without power in sub-zero temperatures on the Crow Creek Reservation. This is a situation CAN-DO has continued to bring to light for more than two years and for 13 days this December, Eric Klein, Founder of CAN-DO, will participate in the “Mankato Ride” to honor those 38 who were killed on December 26, 1862 in Mankato MN.
From December 13th -26th, Klein will ride alongside others to raise awareness and establish a fund for those who are challenged with outrageous electricity bills. The ride is 330 miles and CAN-DO is making a call to action to gain pledges for every mile Klein rides to help restore the rights – and lights – of the people of Crow Creek.
“Our Ride for Lights is more than a fundraising campaign, it is a critical call to action to our nation and our nation’s leaders to put an immediate end to the cultural genocide that continues on our American soil,” said Eric Klein. “These abuses must stop and we must unite to build a better future for these communities that are at the heart of our American heritage. With annual incomes averaging less than $5,000 per household, this community knows suffering far beyond what most of us can image – that paired with having their power illegitimately shut off in sub-zero temperatures. We must address these unfathomable abuses.”
These abuses today mirror those that occurred on December 26, 1862 when 38 Dakota men were marched in single file to a scaffold guarded by 1,400 troops. The pull of a single lever ended the lives of 38 Dakota men, while a crowd of citizens witnessed the largest mass execution in the history of United States. In addition to the mass execution, 265 Dakota men were sent to prison near Davenport, Iowa while 1,300 Dakota men, women, and children were exiled to a concentration camp known today as The Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota.
CAN-DO has focused on working with the Crow Creek community to meet their immediate survival needs while promoting long-term sustainability, improved quality of life, and community revitalization through comprehensive, community-led solutions. Together, Brandon Sazue, Crow Creek Tribal Chairman, Peter Lengkeek and the Crow Creek Reservation in coordination with CAN-DO are working tirelessly to help bring the ongoing abuses to light and together have developed their Five Point Revitalization Plan focused on sustainable solutions to promote energy independence, economic development, and most importantly, cultural preservation.
CAN-DO’s Five Point Revitalization Plan was recently distributed at the White House Tribal Conference hosted by President Barack Obama. At the weeklong conference, Klein and Lengkeek presented the Crow Creek Revitalization Plan to more than 37 government leaders including members of the Senate, House of Representatives, and others.
Per the Associated Press’ story this past week, “The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday auctioned off a large swath of land owned by an impoverished Indian tribe to help pay off more than $3 million in back taxes, penalties and interest – a sale the tribe says is illegal under federal laws protecting Indian land. The 7,100 acres, or 11 square miles, of Crow Creek Sioux tribal land in central South Dakota sold for almost $2.6 million, less than the $4.6 million it was appraised at, said IRS spokeswoman Carrie Resch…The tribe filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District court in Pierre seeking to block the sale. Judge Roberto A. Lange declined their request but promised to schedule a trial to hear the tribe’s arguments.”
Appalled by such continued abuse and neglect, US Marine and Crow Creek resident Peter Lengkeek has continued to take action to publicize this exploitation. Two years ago, using a hand-held video recorder, Lengkeek documented Central Electric physically cutting electricity lines and removing meters in the peak of winter and joined forces with CAN-DO.
“In the past, there have been people who have come to here to help, but have had ulterior motives, and nothing ever came of it,” said Peter Lengkeek. “CAN-DO is coming here and working beside us. They have given us a voice we’ve never had before. What I can see in the future is a beautiful community where people have their pride, respect and dignity…I can see self-reliance again. CAN-DO is providing hope in a place where there is no hope.”
“Do not let these abuses continue on our own soil, take Peter’s lead and DO something,” stated Klein. “We can make a difference. We can make this right. Help put an end to these abuses. Make Human Rights a priority here at home.”
Founded by Eric Klein, CAN-DO has set a new standard for humanitarian aid and is changing the face of philanthropy. CAN-DO’s successful missions to bring immediate and direct relief to areas in need have captured the attention of renowned philanthropists including Oprah Winfrey and former president Bill Clinton. The organization was recently awarded the Global Compassion Award at the United Nations for its global impact, unparalleled transparency and accountability.
Video footage, photographs and the web site offer documentation of the organization’s efforts at every phase. For further information, please visit www.can-do.org. To schedule media interviews or to get involved, please contact Alissa Sears of Christie Communications at 805-969-3744 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.