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.

Post Election Rally Reflections…

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The days since the election have been a roller coaster of emotions for many after the surprise results of Donald Trump’s electoral win for the next President of the United States.

And, what a reaction! There was the initial shock, then the reality set in. Yet, nearly half the country didn’t vote, perhaps because of from much disillusionment with Hillary, turned to apathy and third-party alternatives. The bulk of the Trump supporters I think were turned on by his anti-PC attitude, the usual right-wing rhetoric but in a more authoritarian tone, controversial remarks that many felt were xenophobia, racist, sexist, with other fears bringing out the worse in others, and driving the results of the election to its unexpected conclusion.

Such resulted into fears of new America where ugly attitudes towards minorities, women, LGBTQ, immigrants could increase with the rise of the alt-right and controversial proposals of Trump, backed by his voters who succeeded and feel somewhat empowered. Many were also unhappy with his comments hinging with overtones of xenophobia, racist, sexism, and fears based on untruths.

Then came the protests, prominently throughout the major cities of the US. Groups mostly youthful, chanting “Not My President,” “Love Trump Hate” and other slogans turned hashtag phrases. The reaction was mainly positive, in showing unity and strength against the new establishment. Keep in mind the protesters are also engaged in progressive causes, many of which met with great resistance to the GOP of Trump who also controls the Senate and House of Representatives, and soon the Supreme Court. So, there is plenty of concern for all, not quite ready for the Donald as Commander-in-Chief.

And the rallies were great, far more than I expected. Thousands especially in New York City, Los Angeles, Oregon, Oakland. Most of which was peaceful and organized, with some incidents of violence by some troublemakers here and there. Nothing got too out of hand. those willing to listen had much to understand and listen to for their messages were scattered throughout social media and other press outlets, both digital and press. Those not willing to listen, mostly Trump supporters would pass them off as illegals, rioters, welfare and unemployed bottom feeders’ whatever it takes to cloud their message and keep Trump going toward his idea to “Make America Great Again.”

Whether that happens or it goes completely the other way, is up to all involved in this process of democracy, where voices on the street can be just as powerful as the Election Day ballots. There is much time before Trump’s big Inauguration Day, where he can make amends for his negative comments that perpetuated the rallies, and perhaps ease the concerns of those outside his voter demographic. If not, Inauguration Day will be interesting, and busy.

The pictures above and below are from Sunday night in Seattle, from Capitol Hil to the Downtown area. The last two are from the first night after the election. Mostly, among them were mostly young adults, many college students, I think. Cops stayed along the edge on their bikes, seem cool headed as many would ride ahead to direct traffic as the flow stay organized. Group stopped when cops needed to get ahead of the march at narrow turns. Some of the protesters gave the cops high fives when close. The local atmosphere felt positive with no violent incidents that I know of from all this. Overall, a success for the protesters.

Orion T

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Weekend Thoughts 11/29/15, A Needed Peace of the Season..

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Meanwhile in the Emerald City, the Holiday Season feels fresh once again.

Though this could be the same picture as what will happen during the following weeks. To the left is part of a very tall Christmas tree, which was present last year in this very spot, and probably the next. If not for some particular buildings in the backdrop, this deco could be easily mistaken for nearly any developed big city.

What makes the holiday season special is not the deco, but the people what they make of it. Not everyone may find the holiday symbolization as welcome. For example, the night before the above picture was Black Friday, a day infamous for shopping madness frenzy on “doorbuster’ deals; and also for tree lighting ceremonies and opening festivities. It was (and I think becoming) a day for civil unrest and social justice here in Seattle at least, as a massive Black Lives Matters protest developed in the midst of a crowded Westlake Center area. This was similar to last year’s Friday after Thanksgiving. There are many points of view on whether that was a good or bad outside additive to the holiday festivities, but such a happening brought this particular place and setting a somewhat distinct feel to it all.

Here was that tree in the background on that evening..

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The crowd was quite massive, with a mix of emotions on the invasive presence of the Black Lives Matters protesters with chants and signs calling for an end to police brutality, racial discrimination, and social injustice. Walking through the crowd I heard approving and disapproving voices (with dashes of racism as well). For me, my claustrophobia was developing, and thought my place was away from all this. Also, I was very hungry..

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Sadly, I missed out on the fireworks and big Christmas tree-lighting that happened shortly after. Meanwhile,  I felt reminded of recent words from Pope Francis in a recent speech to some Catholic churchgoers: “We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war….It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war”

And that brought me to thinking while I heard the fireworks boom in the distance, that perhaps the Holiday season does need some change. Should some consideration of what is not right in the world, have a damper on holiday festivities, or should we take time out ponder this incompleteness of our Holiday season?

I felt the reason for the BLM protest; a large group of people felt a disconnect with a dominant status quo on the long-running issues of racism and police brutality in the US, and perhaps that was reason enough to interrupt the joys of tree lighting and musical entertainment. Is it reason enough to interrupt the planned joys to the bigger crowd? That’s for the public to decide, if any change will gain support, or result in resistance. But either way, I felt what the Pope said to where we can’t quite celebrate the spirit of Christmas without considering the larger pictures outside our comfort zones (though he was referring more to the escalating war conflicts). War, injustice, starvation, and other signs of inhumanity..still out there.

So, I will be thinking of some good deeds I can do, perhaps giving and donating to the homeless and less fortunate (an issue I feel this city of Seattle needs to address more). I will read more on what else troubles humanity this Season, and consider what I can do to make a holiday season festive for those who truly need it more.

Meanwhile, we can’t all be magically happy with doorbuster deals and seasonal lights as we start the Holiday Season. I will continue to appreciate any wonderful displays of Christmas decoration, because otherwise the month is too cold. Perhaps, we people should collectively take more time to understand and show some compassion to the distraught toward the time of Christmas Day, even if their messages are not convenient to our liking. That extra warmth and additive in our traditions could go a long way, and make the next Christmas Seasons even more festive.

– Orion T