Dan Aymar-Blair: Standing Rock Is a Model of the Right of Peaceful Assembly

The Article 20 Network's executive director writes in Truth Dig about what Standing Rock teaches us about the contemporary state of the freedom of peaceful assembly. 

The rerouting of the Dakota Access pipeline was a much-needed victory for the rights of indigenous peoples and the sanctity of the environment. The stand at Standing Rock also proved to be a victory for a human right we don’t hear much about: the freedom of peaceful assembly.

Peaceful assembly is the presence of individuals in a public forum as an expression of opinion. Often confused with free speech or other expressive human rights, assembly is expressed through presence, what I call the “body as voice.” Thus, when, where and how we make our presence known to others is fundamental to the expression of assembly.