That Labor Day Spirit

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This Monday was a Labor Day holiday, to have off and perhaps reflect on the one thing people spend much of their lives on…laboring.

Labor Day is the last extended weekend for about the next two months. I think the privilege depends on how good your job is, for giving that time off (and paid) or gaining a higher wage if that day must be worked. For others, the struggle continues, as part of a long tradition of the fight to be treated humanely, with dignity, and have rights against unfair treatment. Otherwise, it’s a day we honor the working human.

But here in downtown Seattle and other cities, this becomes the day to strike and bring attention to concerns among the employees of the Marriott hotel chain. They circle outside some popular hotel entrances, making themselves visible and heard with a message, “One Job Should be Enough.”

From what I gathered from recent news, a recent development in contract negotiations for low-tier workers (housekeepers, workers, receptionists, bellhops, etc.) was not favorable among the over 8,000 involved, with wage increases not benefiting from reported profits, and forced reductions in hours for many among them.

On a small corner of 5th and Stewart for some hours, the Westin hotel (part of the Marriott chain), passing pedestrians can hear the raised voices of the hotel strikers. Drivers in that direction had to reroute, as a line protesters blocked the street, with law enforcement officials allowing that time.

The organized effort will hopefully turn the work negotiations in the favor for the striking workers, as they are a shining example of many on the bottom of the modern corporate structure, often ignored and worn down after giving so much to help those on the top to succeed and live out the best of there lives.

The further on positive direction our labor movements go, I think the more Labor Day will be a better day to celebrate, with less struggle.

March for our Lives 2018

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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.

Here are some picture snaps of the day from me…

– Orion T

The Seattle Women’s March of 2018

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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.

-Orion T

Yesterday, Observing Tension and Community

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Recently was another day that best describes the ongoing situations that better define national social unrest tensions in 2017. This, by yesterdays headlines involving the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. White nationalist groups marched, and a counter protest happened. There was tragedy resulted from acts of hate, leading to terrible injuries and a horrific fatality.

A day later in Seattle, a different situation happened, and I was there for a couple of hours in the afternoon. A nationalist militia group Patriot Prayer (and other sympathizers including the Proud Boys nationalist group) gathered for something called a “Freedom Rally.” while they claim not to be associated with the White supremacy movement of the East, there are similarities with their rhetoric (in looking them up online): labelling those in favor of BLM, anti-Trump, progressives, immigrant defenders to some incorrect narrative of violent “Antifa” anarchy, while promoting their own version of religious and gun-toting freedom. Meanwhile, there are subtle roots of racism in the PP militia presentations, with the usual promotion of “All Lives Matter,” disregarding the message of Black Lives Matter with their own distorted narrative. They claim to bring something different to the table of social discussion which becomes lost when appearing in military gear, preaching hateful rhetoric, politically cheerleading for the alt-right and praise Trump for his controversial policies that alienate immigrants and Muslims.

But oddly, they shared the stage with those giving back harsh words to them, and the white nationalist sympathizing festering from the growing alt-right. Lots of loud speeches for Black Lives Matter, Indigenous people’s awareness, Bernie Sanders, anti-fascism, anti-capitalism, clarifying socialism, income inequality, anti-racism, and anti-Trump’ all drew loud cheers from the counter-protesters.

Meanwhile, the PP militia group held their area in the middle, mixed with independent media folk. The nationalist group used American flags as peripherals, which I found bothering because that assumes the US holds a special place its dominant white demographic, should any other groups of a different color or ethnicity, or non-Christian religion suddenly gather in military gear and taking advantage of open-carry protections. Such an imbalance suggests the American flag in regards to militias and accumulation of firearms, builds for white privilege.

Anyway, some of the members of the PP militia groups spoke as well, with some very passive aggressive speeches about tolerance and free speech. Such felt a bit silly, with many among them passing off fallacies, alternative facts, and hailing Trump as some lord and savior for conservative causes. Of course, those were met with heavy boos and shouts of “bullshit” It was all an amusing with the display of cooperative civility, allowing for this “Freedom Rally” and counter protesting to happen and keep itself in control, though there were a few troubling incidents resulting in arrests and police counter-measures.

Overall, those gathered around the PP militia were anything but those what social media haters would describe in general as the communist, mask wearing, violent, unemployed immigrants, or whatever else incorrect labeling is out there. Such is wrong in observation of the assembly of downtown Seattle natives I see every day, bearing every class, color, and ethnicities; all young and old, with visual styles suggesting many statuses and lifestyle choices. Most in part, pushing for an end to the threats of racism and fascism (many with signs and adornments expressing such).

I moved about in the outer circles, mingling with an otherwise chill atmosphere, occasional bursting in cheers and boos (depending on speaker and content). The conversations were friendly, with word exchanges about social change and the recent situation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Also, many funny comments about the silent PP militia man standing in the background on the stage, constantly chewing gum or tobacco for at least an hour.

So, another fun Sunday afternoon in Seattle, for which I glad I checked out. Such forums are always great staples of this city life, though can also be unpredictable. Yet, I feel these moments are worthwhile, in the peaceful interactions and learning more about each other.

– Orion T

The picture was taken from my phone around 3:00 pm, Sunday afternoon. I wished I took a better shot of the counter-protesting crowd surrounding then PP militia. Such was clearly a larger gathering, emphasizing the Seattle local response to nationalism and its disdain for the alt-right movements.

Picture of Today 5/1/2017 – May Day

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Today was a calm May Day, for nothing too troubling happened here in the Emerald City of Seattle (or so I heard). There were many small marches throughout the day, and no riots.

But, I did happen to observe heavily some evening happenings in the Westlake Center Park of Downtown Seattle. Some pro-Trump supporters arrived and verbally clashed with anti-Trump supporters. Also among them, the usual anti-capitalists, religious promoters, climate-change activists, self-made superheroes,  anti-war groups (some were war vets, I was told), anarchists, and curious tourists. From a close distance and ready, were many armored police officers standing around with batons in hand.

But, most of the local attention circulated around the various tense confrontations between the pro- and anti- Trump groups. Though I heard much childish banter and expletives being thrown about, there was some intelligent talking and debate that occurred. Such civility was strangely refreshing. If we all can’t along, then lets at least talk.

– Orion T

Picture of Today 1/29/2017, Hope Within Resistance..

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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.

– Orion T

Among the many, at The Women’s March on Seattle…

 

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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.