Yesterday, former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on two counts of murder and one for manslaughter for the death of George Floyd, an African American man whose near last words were, “I can’t breathe.”
And from that day the verdict referred to, on May 25, 2020, ignited a fury for social justice needed for Floyd and many others whose black skin color share a common trait, for having their lives disregarded by law enforcement officers. What is often noted, is that people often judge African Americans apprehended by police officers as “thugs”. “druggies”, and whatever else makes privileged folk concerned, when one does the slightest act of suspicious or illegal behavior. So with such judgement, there is a constant reminder that their lives are more threatened in police confrontations, as they may not survive to get any necessary due process. And often, there is no crime or prior suspicion. Black lives, like any other, need to get go for a nice walk, get a slice of pizza, get a good night’s rest, and other human things. And they matter on the basic principles to be judged on the same level as others confronted by law enforcement.
George Floyd had a life of many ups and downs, which sadly lead to some bad choices involving criminal activity, and drugs. However, he did often try his best to turn his life around, and sometimes succeeded in being a positive influence to others at times. He was a mentor, a father, a blue-collar working class man, and a loved African American whose potential to better himself and others was robbed by Derek Chauvin. He just need better days ahead, to work his life out. Sadly, Derek Chauvin robbed him of that opportunity.
So, Derek Chauvin was given his most important day for due process, and found guilty. Prison will give Chauvin a time to reflect and dig deep on the wrongness of his actions. His might even appreciate that he was given this chance to live through it, and do other human things. I will care less for him, but will appreciate any further good that comes out his guilty verdict.
But what of the rest of us? What do we get out of this? We shall see. In the meantime, also keep in mind other fresh names since, to other similar sad stories: Daunte Wright, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude, Breonna Taylor.
The above picture was from a sidewalk memorial in Seattle, a few weeks after the death of George Floyd. Pictured with George Floyd is Breonna Taylor, another life senselessly lost from wrongful police actions in 2020.
I won’t push the obvious stakes much further. There is nothing I can not stress more that would change anyone’s mind at this point. I have to trust in an imperfect system based on the sensible ideals of democracy, with faith that a large portion of the voting population will put forth what needs to happen for this country to sanely continue.
From what I hear, more people are voting. Records are being broken from early voting. It’s trending, to declare your vote and share without shame, that there is something in this great American system that works. But, only if enough people participate.
Yet, let’s take a deep breath. Don’t let the anxiety overwhelm you after you did your part. Maybe stay off social media for a bit. Work helps distract, but avoid political conversation (a good practice in general at most jobs). Maybe find a dumb movie, play a video game, get some rigorous exercises done, or whatever…then turn on some news and see the results later on. Then, well let’s see and go from there.
I voted early, as Washington state has an awesome vote by mail system.
Today is June 19, a significant day for African Americans in the U.S., a second Independence Day for each other. This day reflects not when slavery was abolished, but officially enforced upon those still practicing illegal forced labor, two and half hears later.
The Emancipation Proclamation, an order signed by Abraham Lincoln abolishing slavery, became official on January 1, 1863. However, much of the U.S. ignored that ratification with a Civil War going on until April 1865. The South would lose, but remain stubbornness throughout, especially in Texas. Texan farmers ignored the Proclamation (or didn’t get the message), ready to squeeze a bit more forced labor for the summer harvest. But Union Army forces arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, with the news that the Civil War ended and that slaves were now free.
The news spread fast, and history continued. This was a pivotal early high point for Black lives mattering, which still means a lot, and to me eventually.
I did not know about this “Juneteenth” until my early high school days, from my grandmother upon my first visit to Los Angeles in 1992. She stressed the importance of that day, as one that should be as significant as any holiday, and always remember. We both had experiences to share on racism, harassment that stemmed from slavery times, and society that, in a way, needed constantly reminding that dominion over others by race is unacceptable. We lived in a system that was very discriminatory on the amount of melanin in our skin, along with other physical aspects of our African roots.
To clarify, I am of mixed complexion and race. My maternal grandmother and remaining family (all on the maternal side) were African American, with roots traced back to the deep South and its slavery times. There is much to share from that time, but for another day. For then, my attention toward television and news it brought is more relevant to the following and eventual now. I then learned a new word from the media.
Four Los Angeles policemen (three white) brutality beat African American Rodney King nearly to death. It was all on caught on camera, and the officers made lousy excuses and lies for this very unlawful inhumanity upon him. They were acquitted, not guilty of the charges brought upon them.
So forth, came the first significant protest of my lifetime, starting downtown by its city hall and main courthouse. It was initially peaceful, as my grandmother and I stood by and hared solidarity, yet frustrated. The acquittal was not right, and the justice system failed. Anger and frustration built on our community, feeling ourselves unheard and uncared by a government system we thought at the time, would ignore our humanity in this particular symbolic case. A man was held against his will and beaten for not respected his temporary slave masters.
Adding to all this was also a recent slap on the wrist ($500 fine, probation, community service) for a Korean store owner in South Los Angeles who shot 15-year-old African-American Latasha Harlins, after accusing her of stealing orange juice. She was holding the money to pay for the juice, as she died. Still, there was no justification, whether or not Latasha Harlins was stealing. But it raised racial tensions among African Americans and Asian Americans as well. In a way, the justice system was also at fault here, feeling very imbalanced towards African Americans, yet again..
Often with court system failures, justice needs to be clarified by other voices. When it does not, anger is lead by fists and fire. So forth went the cry, “No Justice, No Peace.” This sentiment echoed into the South Central Los Angeles area, where many gave up a just society, feeling separate and not equal. Reasons included poor community funding, continuous discrimination, feeling exploited for cheap labor, and just feeling forgotten and ignored. To be at the very bottom, then seeing one of their own beaten by someone given authority for whatever reason, felt like a return to slavery
But, such did not entirely excuse the chaos, as major rioting followed. Such behavior did not reflect the message of the protesting but remained a symptom of those unheard. The beatings, fires, vandalizing did not speak for the community or African Americans, just the growing frustration where many would wrongly escalate frustrations away from the conversation.
Afterward, new voices would speak for ourselves. Most notably activist leaders, including Jesse Jackson, Maxine Waters, Al Sharpton. A new renaissance in music and arts culture that would bring fresh attention to “Black Power,” the effects of poverty, and system injustice awareness. But one voice resonated with me as a person of color, and others felt especially strong and much needed at the time, on May 1, 1992, by Rodney King appearing on television.
“Can’t we all get along.”
It was a short message from a man who wasn’t ready for public speaking but felt the message needed a hearing. It’s simple, emotional, and a perfect question in a society that still frustration over those recent 1992 events, and the centuries of buildup that built up.
Something was liberating about that statement, ushering an era for the rest of the 90s with the recession ending. Bill Clinton took Presidential office in 1993, and definitely more favored (and relatable) in our African American community, which I think helped ease tensions towards the still White prevalent United States. Together, I think we all did get along, focusing on trivial guilty pleasures, including but not limited to Amy Fisher, OJ Simpson, Batman movies, Mortal Kombat, Tupac, Back Street Boys, The Matrix, Beavis and Butthead, and so much more.
But something remained for the next two decades, which I think was sparked in the middle by the next critical day in U.S race relations history, and a new era of protest. That day was September 11, 2001.
And that’s where I leave off, for now. I will return later to this point in history and share what led to our current times, from my perspective and observations, traveling through it all.
The above picture is from the height of tensions in the current protest for 2020 in Seattle. I will share more on that in further parts.
On June 12, 2020, a significant Black Lives Matters march took place under some heavy rain. The main theme was the overall solidarity for Black lives unfairly victimized by law enforcement officials throughout the U.S. This new protest and call for awareness is from the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and more. This march called for heavy silence spread and pandemic precautions with face masks and regards to those at further risk
Special note: I planned a follow-up from my recent Part 1 post with personal experiences and observations growing up as a person of mixed complexion on police brutality, civil unrest, and the 1992 Los Angeles Rodney King police verdict aftermath. That will have to wait, as I felt this march had priority in reflection. A single uniformed approach to recent events for a simple message reveals safety and comfort for those in danger are greater in numbers.
Not even the COVID 19 pandemic can slow this message down. Yes, we took a significant risk, but often an emotional need to unite and bond physically overpowers current obstacles. Yet, we still made adjustments, of which I am optimistic.
So, an estimated 60,000 slowly walked for over 2 hours from Judkins Park in the Central District to Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill. Some of that was uphill, very wet. The rain slowed down and stopped eventually. I was impressed with how many used their umbrellas, raising them higher above peers, and taking care not to poke or cause excessive splatter.
The march went well with no known incidents. Many who could not march or had to stay near home, stood by to add solidarity. Some passed out snacks and water. I am proud to be a part of this community support, as the effects of this will hopefully influence better public policy throughout all civil service, especially within law enforcement.
Later on the same day, in Atlanta, Georgia, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks fell asleep in his car at a Wendy’s parking lot, apparently blocking a drive-thru. After failing a sobriety test, he attempted to run away, allegedly resisting arrest. For an unknown reason, he waved a taser back at them. That was all the excuse one of the police officers needed to open fire and fatally shoot him. I think he was running, fearing for his life, which in the end was not enough.
On the same night in California’s San Fernando Valley area, former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah was jogging down a street. Then LAPD officers swarmed and pulled their guns on him, ordered him on the ground as one officer then put his knee to Jay’s neck. The excuse was that he matched the vague description of a suspect. His life was most definitely in danger, and I believe otherwise be left alone if his skinned had been a significantly lighter tone.
So yes, even while silent, the call for new attention, action, oversight, reform, changes and justice still must be heard. I will share more insight from the steps I take with my own two feet and hands for the coming days, for sure.
The above picture was taken in Beacon Hill looking back on the march. I was very impressed and proud to be a part of this.
Over two weeks, the latest protest for civil injustice reaches national (and heading global) proportions, yet also grown for decades in the making. We look outside, turn on the news, take part in the conversation because the air is a bit tenser. That time for civilization to stand by and do nothing is up.
On the surface, this latest civil unrest ignited by a horrific image from Minneapolis, a White police officer using his knee to crush the neck of a Black man for eight minutes and 46 seconds, depriving him of his right to live. On the ground pleading to breathe, George Floyd was a father, a mentor, a working every-man who also made terrible decisions. He then turned his life around, with new dreams while recently losing his job to the ongoing pandemic. Such details and more, are additives to the humane treatment that George Floyd and anyone else deserves.
Yet George Floyd had no chance, but every right to live as other officers stood by and did nothing. And,, so did much of the current police system passing this off as a mere incident, reducing the public call to action. The Minneapolis Police Department attempted to change the narrative, while more details and outside camera footage showed an apparent contradiction. Each disciplinary action felt like minimal for what appeared to be an execution, as more information mounted. This overall system felt cold to the growing public outcry.
Yet, new heat developed among the citizens of Minneapolis, spread through news and social media to every corner of the U.S nation. A spark to the growing Black Lives Matter movement, and too many similar incidents of police brutality and injustice through the previous decade. The systemic racism that leads to far too many events where people of color are unfairly targeted and mistreated for minor or made-up offenses. Then, made to suffer from a lack of due process where a law enforcement officer may use some lousy excuse to become judge, jury, and executioner.
Now, the movement fires up, filled combinations of pent-up fury and frustration with hope and hopelessness for the future. Many give up on not just the police as a force that is supposed to “serve and protect,” but a growing world that leaves the needs of the poor, the minorities, the less privileged…cold.
I use temperature as a metaphorical measure because nothing is instantly hot or cold. There are conditions that lead to growing extremes. History is full of moments that have raised the temperature of the growing frustration of a system that seems to give little effort to change.
Many historians would agree, the earliest racially pushed policing stemmed from the pre-civil war era. Slavery patrols were common in White, European descent dominant small towns and rural areas, organized to keep a lookout and control of Black slaves. Eventually, slavery was abolished, but the mentality of racial control remained through harassment, terrorism continued through the growing sectors of law enforcement.
Racial segregation laws, also known as Jim Crow laws (the term derived from a popular racist caricature in the late 1920s of Blacks), were eventually considered legal in South area regions, pushed a very unequal imbalance for Blacks to be kept social and economically disadvantaged and many dominant White areas. Being that African Americans were on the losing end of the Jim Crow era and treated inhumanly, White police officers identifying (and often working with) White supremacist groups including the KKK), would be widespread as typical enforcers. Eventually, those laws were ended, as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed. Yet still, it took a heavy law enforcement in many areas to keep those laws moving.
Such attitudes through many law enforcement areas, did not change overnight. The resentment from many African Americans who experienced the social damage of Jim Crow laws grew, especially among those who migrated westward to the Pacific States, remained.
On August 11, 1965, in the Watts district of Los Angeles, a police officer pulled over Marquette Frye, a young African-American with a troubled past resulting in bad personal decisions, for drunk driving. He would walk in a drunken state to return with his mother to claim help claim the vehicle being towed. Eyewitnesses (a slowly growing crowd of locals) say she handled the situation well, while rightfully scolding her son for drunk-driving. Frye became agitated according to a police report, where he angrily defied threats of jail and car towed away. Patrol officers present tried to handcuff Marquette Frye, leading to a worried mother defending the life of her son in police custody, jumped to the officer, leading to violent escalation. The officer struck his baton to the head of Marquette Frye, bleeding as they both were under arrest,
The present local crowd grew frustrated and angry, also responding to some spreading incorrect rumors (for now, but there was only an official report to go by at this point). But even so, the racial tensions combined with economic inequality and housing discrimination added to the reputation of the Los Angeles police force, notorious among them for its recruitment of white individuals from the South U.S regions, an area well known for its systematic and very open racist community standards. Protests grew, and so did the anger.
The 1965 Watts Riots followed, leaving many buildings burned and places looted. While the police arrived to slow down the civil unrest, many were quick to use violent methods of crowd control. It didn’t help that Police Chief William Parker described the rioters as “monkeys in the zoo.” 34 people ended up dead and 1,032 injured. Of those who died, 23 killed by LAPD officers.
More frustration grew and spread from police reaction, mixing the protests and riots together.
Another early yet major and more substantial incident of police brutality was on the evening of July 12, 1967, in Newark, New Jersey, where two white police officers pulled over black cab driver, John William Smith, for an apparent traffic stop. They arrested and severely beat Smith claiming resistance and “insulting remarks.” Smith remained in his holding cell of the local precinct until further injuries lead to hospital placement.
The incident sparked protest from an area where African Americans were economically disadvantaged, adding anger to frustration resulting in a wide range of reactions. Rising tensions resulted in a quickly organized peaceful protest on that police station. But hell broke loose, as a riot instigated by a few angry citizens, leading to more police brutality, unnecessary and vicious. 26 people died, and countless injured, including Joe Bass Jr, a 12-year boy injured from a police gunshot. A photo of his bloodied body appeared on the cover of the July 1967 issue Life Magazine. It’s haunting, violently graphic, and you can click here if curious (warning, very graphic)
It’s what we see with out own eyes that makes the biggest difference. With the advent of media technology, so shall come the mounting resentment as pictures and video captured of unnecessary police brutality built upon legitimacy of the problem.
So why the rioting when there involves incidents of police brutality? I think Dr. Martin Luther King had the best response in a 1967 interview with CBS’ Mike Wallace in which he responded to a question regarding on minority charged vandalism and looting. “And I contend that the cry of ‘black power’ is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro,” King said. “I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.”
Adding oppressing police who abuse their power, maddens the situation for the disadvantaged. Sure, a riot is not justification. It is merely a result for many involved who I think, have given up on a system that works for them.
And so forth, there continued other incidents of police brutality, but none quite so apparent until the night of March 3rd, 1991 in Los Angeles from the balcony of local citizen George Holliday. He recorded by video cam, construction worker and also African American Rodney King, beaten horribly by a group LAPD officers who pulled initially pulled him over for drunk driving after a short chase.
And, that’s where I leave pause for a moment, looking back to a more personal experience. I was in Los Angeles at the time, with much to share the civil unrest and riots that followed. There is more to bring up from personal experience, because my part among so many others are just a contribution to the connected buildup of today.
Which is now, a very hot time.
The top picture I took from the recent protest in Seattle, currently more focused now in the Capitol Hill district. More on that with more pictures, coming up.
This last latest Friday, thousands of school students led thousands more activists into the streets of Seattle. This was in part of similar protests in over 2,500 connected events worldwide, adding to an unknown number surely in the millions, to protest accelerated climate change caused by human recklessness.
This global event on September 20th, is the first Global Climate Strike, inspired by 16-year old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Back in August 2018, Greta cut school to protest and call for climate action outside the Swedish parliament building. She started alone but soon joined by many others, gaining worldwide attention, and eventually this event powered by more youth.
So, here in Seattle, the strike was done to surprising numbers. A path of closed blocks led from its Capitol Hill district to the city hall in Downtown. Shortly after the noon, I would join the final city block, cheering on the movement.
I feel there is a concentrated push by ignorant people in power, and greedy corporations, and many who just don’t care…to disdain the countless science data and observations that allowing large amounts of poisons into the air and destroy precious ecosystems is causing harm to our planet. Then, harm comes back to us with difficult weather changes, stemming from those harmful effects.
But, will such activism really help and fix our problems in the long run? Well, that depends on what we do from such reaction. Becoming more involved and informed in politics, economics, making conscious decisions on our consumerism and social activity helps. Green renewable energy, recycling, push for compostable/biodegradable over plastic single-use products help. Fighting peacefully against ignorant forces in power through resistant protest and democracy also helps. A lot of this benefits, but the urgency for better action and solution will increase as the problems resulting from climate change increase.
With that, we will hear more from the concerned youth for sure, hopefully leading to better, smarter changes soon.
Pride Month reaches to a close this end of June, as celebrations in all US major cities had their parades and festivities. Such is the annual month for solidarity and recognition of LGBTQ members in our civilization for their basic rights, and to coexist freely without the effects of bigotry and persecution.
This weekend also marks the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay bar patrons in Manhatten, New York City known as the Stonewall riots. Building frustrations from the local gay community in the late 1960s boosted the modern gay-rights movement, building much in the decades ahead.
Meanwhile here in Seattle, a large parade would draw thousands of people over, along with two major festivals in Capitol Hill and the Seattle Center. I missed most for personal reasons tending elsewhere. Yet, I did take around 20 minutes to watch a little of the Sunday parade.
For that moment, and observing the huge crowds of support, I see great development since the Stonewall riots. LGBTQ activism and solidarity are more freely expressed, with growing support and understanding. But, there remain other areas in our world, where such expression is forbidden and met with a terrible penalty. We look to our own leaders, and some failings with the current administration to help protect what should be equal rights to openly engage in same-sex relationships, have legally accepted civil unions, and domestic partnerships. Also, not be discriminated in for employment situations, public accommodations, housing, education needs, and more.
Therefore, the marches and festivities shall move on in more Pride months, perhaps for another 50 years at least. Along the way. humanity collects and grows as we learn to love better.
“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World
Today, a beautiful day in honor of the great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Many had the day off and joined others at special marches across the US. Seattle represented itself well where thousands took over many blocks, giving tribute and spreading many of Martin Luther King Jr’s messages on racial prejudice, economic inequality, social injustice and change, the effects of war, the need for peace, education, and much more.
Among them, I felt a great optimism of such strength in numbers, that we can move forward for the better. But, there is still a lot of work to be done, after the marching is over.
Yesterday on March 24th, millions took to the streets in the first “March for our Lives” national event. This one, very different from recent marches from the last two years, as the focus this time was mostly on gun policy change, stricter background checks, banning ARs, resistance to the NRA lobbying campaign and propaganda, safer schools, and many related issues. The event, led by survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school mass shooting with other young prolific speakers on stage in Washington D.C.
The Seattle city took part with its own impressive numbers on this beautiful sunny day. I joined among them, in support of sensible changes and sane thinking to the troubling counterpoint of arming more civilians and looser restrictions. Seeing the many passionate marching people wanting a safer future with no mass shootings fill me with great hope for these tough times, as I expect them to heighten the debate on the complexities of the issue, then drive toward improvements on current gun policy.
On Saturday and mostly in the cities, the second annual series of Women’s Marches happened across the United States. Big results followed through once again, with an emphasis of unease towards the current President, his administration, and GOP establishment (also the year anniversary of #45’s inauguration).
The people of Seattle and surrounding areas arrived, and filled the march route for several hours by tens of thousands in number. The weather was murky with spots of light sprinkles with a forgiving temperature of the upper 40s. Signs on hand were many focused toward “liberal” causes, many of which are championed by strong-minded women fighting back today.
Especially for the Seattle event, there was a grand presence of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls March happening within. Such was heartfelt for the troubling history involving such, bringing awareness to the ignored gender-based violence in the United States and Canada to Indigenous Women. Here with the march, drums and native symbology mix with red cloth for solidarity to the victims and unresolved cases.
Here are my pictures of this event…
An overall good day, with refreshed optimism and new unity for our challenging times.
“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the inter-related structure of reality.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail
Today is the 32nd third Monday of January, known as Martin Luther King Day, in celebration of the greatest civil rights activist leader of our lifetimes. We spend it as a day off for many, and in remembrance of King’s message and strive for justice, liberty, and peace for all.
Here in Seattle, there was a march and a rally held, of which I sadly missed. But the message remained on signs and shirts later on in the day. The current vibe focused on the road ahead toward the full accomplishment of Dr. King’s dream, with sentiments on social movements on civil rights for immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ persons, and others marginalized by oppressive systems.
A general theme can be seen throughout brought on by organizers to “Take a Knee for Justice” referring to the prayer actions of Martin Luther King and company during his famous march in Selma, Alabama, then recently brought back by modern civil rights activist/ NFL star Colin Kaepernick and company, overall in solidarity for wrongs in the system against people of color. Signs throughout are a reminder, there is still much to do, and more unity needed to achieve a nation where persons will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
This Earth Day on April 22nd in 2017, hundreds of thousands of persons (at least) worldwide participated in the first March for Science. I was part of that, for.
I was part of this, for which I am proud. My stake is the desire for cleaner air and water, renewable clean energy, wildlife and nature conservation, end to reliance on oil, more funding in public education and access to educational public resources, a stronger pull with the science community in politics than corporate lobbyists, more critical thinking in public policy towards the cause/effect on environment and those living in affected areas, climate change monitoring and reports, an overall emphasis towards the betterment of humanity through science and the continued pursuit of knowledge from our world leaders. Also, I feel troubled with the current Commander in Chief’s statements and actions in Congress on the many science-related issues that concern me.
For Seattle, there was rain and a gloomy sky, for which was nothing yet notable for the chill atmosphere provided. Many showed up at Cal Anderson Park in the Capitol Hill district, where the Science March began. The journey continued through the Downtown area, through Belltown, and by the Space Needle in the Seattle Center. Such was a much shorter march, compared to the record-breaking Woman’s March back in January; yet notable and attention-getting in current headlines.
Here below, are some unedited pictures from the March of Science in Seattle, giving a small portion of the overall grandness, for which I hope will have lasting effects in the years to come for our ever troubled planet.
The latest rally against Trump across many cities, here again in Seattle.
Though, this particular gathering happened in response to the sudden and troubling new Executive Branch order put forth by President Trump. Such was the denial of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, for the next 90 days while suspending the admission of all refugees for 120 days. A great many including myself, were not happy with this confounding orders, frustrating many while driving tens of thousands across the nation to protest.
The Seattle crowd this time, took a more focused approach on immigration, in defense of those wronged by the new policy. The most popular chant was “Say it loud, say it clear..immigrants are welcome here,’ delivered in massive unison through the streets. The police led them around the blocks, and I think split the marching portion crowd into separate groups. A clever ploy to dwindle the crowds perhaps, as they seemed much smaller in number with less time to prepare. Still, all went well for the protesters in the thousands gathered to have their say, including Mayor Ed Murray and Governor Jay Inslee.
To where all this will lead, is foreseen. But such unity is inspiring a great hope for the troubled times ahead, that all will be okay in the end.
Yesterday, nearly 4,000,000 people stood up and marched in solidarity for the collective resistance and concerns of the recent massive change within the current US federal government political landscape. Many affected and off-put by what will likely lead towards an anti-progressive agenda, are women. Also, our newly sworn-in 45th U.S President, Donald Trump, noted for multiple offensive remarks towards women, in general and of specific targets.
So, to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” was originally for the prime Women’s March on Washington, then setting the template for various other marches of a similar name, different locations.
I, living in the Pacific Northwest, attended the Women’s March on Seattle (also known as the Womxn’s March on Seattle, for reasons I remain unclear about on LGBTQ matters). From Judkins Park, through the International District and Downtown, ending at the Space Needle, over 150,000 persons took part in that very dense slow three-mile stretch.
And within, were many other concerns on issues hard-pressed by activists; all affected by developments in the new Trump administration and GOP dominance in other government branches. Such included but not limited to; climate change, universal health care, LGBTQ rights, foreign policy, war rhetoric, immigration policy, religious exclusion, net neutrality, press freedom, environmental protections, and much more. Also raising concern, are the shaming attitudes of Trump towards specific targets, leading to further discourse. Many organizations and large groups feel threatened, of the new government power and its formal reality show/entertainment celebrity turned leader of the free world still known as Donald Trump.
So forth, comes the best way in dealing with a system no longer in favor of the collective American people. Such are the protests, where ones can freely gather and express their grievances in a wildly visual display. For the Women’s Marches are many adorned pink hats, in light of Trump’s offensive remarks to “grab them by the pussy.” Notable are the many Leia Organa signs, perhaps inspired by Carrie Fisher’s recent passing who portrayed the Rebel Princess of the Star Wars. I noticed many signs reminding of us real-life icons; including Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, Angela Davis, Frida Kahlo, Angela Davis. Also, in plenty sight were the three colorful prints of women representation, by Shepard Fairey (whose first well-known work was the iconic Barack Obama “Hope” poster). And overall, lots of feline imagery and wordplay referring to a particular popular euphemism.
That being said, I enjoyed my good walk for nearly the entire way (from Judkins Park to the Westlake Park area, then needing a long rest at home). Much of me was in exhaustion from the previous night walk, where I ended up with a little pepper spray on my lips and eye. That story, I leave for another article.
Overall, a worthwhile time for the history books, of which I am proud of and cheering towards all who participated, especially the friends I know who traveled as far as Washington DC to take part in this historic, and record-breaking event. I also, feel much hope for these worrisome times, that it will be the people and not our government, that will decide our future.
Below, are my personal pictures shared of the Seattle Women’s March. Enjoy and be inspired!
– Orion T
Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external and public use, please contact and obtain permission first.
Here is a small part of the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions.
Not too far away for the local Seattle portion, was also a crowd gathering and a mini parade of activists and musicians. Their goal was clear, to prevent the extinction of large animals, especially elephants, rhinos and lions for their furs, horns, and whatever else humans could live without. Such the threat to wildlife still happens through the the world today, where these animals are endangered and vulnerable to extinction.