Tag Archives: protest

A Few Reasons to Take Action

Among other things going on around the town, 350 Seattle shut down 4th Ave downtown Seattle and made visits to the Canadian Consulate, Chase Bank, and Bank of Amerika.

Shutting down business as usual because the normal flow of business is killing us.

Line 3 in Minnesota and Trans Mountain in Canada were two of the primary focuses being the pipelines major corporations and these banks are supporting. These lines are being forced through Indigenous lands, without permission, again.

Energy is something we as a collection of Peoples  have grown dependent on, yes. However, we generally do not want and we certainly cannot afford more of the same. We want healthy and sustainable alternative forms of energy.

There is a conundrum based on some myths that we must confront:

#1 “Progress” is always something good. Sure, time moves forward and new things are invented, but what measure is used to define ‘good’?

#2 It’s not okay to slow down to make course corrections. Cars, ships, even people do it everyday in our common and regular experiences.  However, there is some paradigm that purports slowing down derails this immaculate ‘progress’ that can do no wrong.

If acquiring healthy and sustainable energy sources requires us to slow down long enough to make the appropriate course corrections, that is not a derailment but a wise strategy.

#3 Now may be the only moment we have, but that does not make it the most important moment by default.

I like the conceptualization living like I will die tomorrow, but planning like I will live forever. When we allow a precedence to be placed on this moment, we may be inadvertently sacrificing future moments.

Our energy needs and wants in this moment should not outweigh the needs and wants of future moments.

We are already in the midst of a climate crisis, and with the lag of impact, we will be dealing with the harms for generations to come. That is not to say there are not things a course correction will not help. Quite to the contrary, in fact. A course correction includes addressing the harms and mitigating the pains people, animals, and the rest of our world are about to feel.

This understanding is coming from the “7 Generation Principle” shared by the Iroquois Confederation.

We have a responsibility to those who have yet to become. We do not get to write them off just because they are not here to advocate for themselves. The same is true for those who live in other and more impacted regions around our world.

The way I tend to think about is is to question what our progeny looking back at us have hoped we had done.

One of the course corrections we need to make is to scale back ‘who’ is granted the privilege of defining our course. This currently resides with governments and corporations who have not behaved as though they have the best interest of the planet and our Peoples in mind. They have behaved in a manner that reveals profit and self-interested motives. They should have a say, but not limitless autonomy.

Interrupting business as usual to shift the agenda to these vital and important concerns is a step in the direction of steering us to make some course corrections.

Media about the action:

The Stranger:


The Seattle Times:


Student / Activist

The end is coming

Bout to turn the corner

Flipping through the chapters

College is almost over

I’ll be walking down the isle

Holding two degrees in hand

I never thought it possible

And yet, here I am

from the streets and dealin dope

homeless, without hope

dwellin in their cells

mostly, was just broke

penniless, a derelict

So much I didn’t know

and told me to my face

that I would never go

yet I fought tooth and nail

pouring through them books

fighting for my money

the government full of crooks

financial aid a joke

but it helped to get me through

Education should be free

They want the GDP to grow

and that bullshit I-200

Legislations gotta go

cuz our people really suffer

from this racist system yo

SPS is whack

that’s where I slipped through the cracks

Designed to help the whites

Not to help the brown and black



College changed my mind

The way I think about the world

Used to be so trivial

completely uninvolved

But philosophy, it helped me see

that I am responsible

for the harms our people suffer

all across the globe

Climate Change to Immigration

Dropping bombs in far off nations

killer cops and patriarchy

be inter-related

And when I came to see, the interlink

after Michael Brown

was executed in the street

Knew we had to tear it down

So I hit the streets, and left my seats

at UW vacant empty

Activated by Black Lives Matter

Protests, Advocation

all the way to city hall

to shutting down the malls

But still hittin my books

Hidin, library nooks

And though my grades they took a hit

not enough to knock me down

even after another arrest

leading a march right through the town

Writing papers between events

applying what I was learning

for the benefit of our people

with a passion that’s still burnin

my degrees they’re still coming

by god, I know I’ve earned them

Fed-Up with a System that is not Just and Does not Listen


After the Grand Jury decision not to indict the Ferguson officer responsible for the murder of Michael Brown was released (November 24, 2014), people across the country took to the streets in protest. Seattle was no exception to this national wave of civil unrest.

People throughout the country are upset and fed up with being treated unfairly and being valued less than other citizens. The people are sick and tired of feeling like their rights and lives do not count, like they do not matter. The people are done with passively fearing for their lives, knowing that at any moment they can be killed with impunity because the officers will almost unequivocally escape any sort of punishment. The people are tired of being treated as second-class citizens.


The Grand Jury decision was the last draw.


The civil unrest did not just occur because of this one particular incident, but rather because of long series of incidents that stretches back hundreds of years. Although, the most recent incidents of Trevon Martin, and the 12-year old child who was shot by a Police Officer because of he was in possession of a bb-gun catalyzed the issues police brutality and injustice in recent memory. If it was only one incident, then the people would not be standing in solidarity throughout the nation, but they are.

I keep hearing again and again, that people are “sick and tired of hearing people of color complaining about injustice.”


To them I ask:


What is it that would cause a people, and not just black people, but all kinds of people to clamor for justice?

What would cause the people to take to the streets, host protest, and use the only voice they have left?

Could it possibly be because we actually feel and are being treated unjustly?


When I hear that people are sick and tired of hearing people of color complain about injustice what I hear is one of two things:


(1) Either they believe that the system is just, i.e., it provides for the common benefit of all people.


(2) they know the system is unjust and do not want to do anything about it, i.e., relinquish some of the privilege gained by the oppression of others.


In either case the outcome is wrong, but option two is far worse because inherent in it is an obvious choice to maintain the status quo, to maintain a system of oppression.


For a few generations since the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s & 70s, the people have been attempting to maneuver through the political system, the people have published papers and articles, written books, held peaceful vigils and all that has come about from it all is a corrupt system of injustice. Since the 1970s, but really picking up steam in the 80s and coalescing in 90s a new criminal justice system was created. This new system has the results of 3/4 of the adult African-American male population either in prison or with a prison record, that same population having their right to vote revoked, denied access to higher education, and legally discriminated against culminating to create what Michelle Alexander termed “The New Jim Crow.” The rhetoric behind and which founded the creation of this system has identified the young person of color as the enemy, as the “bad man,” and as worthy only of contempt and punishment. Simultaneously, the system shifted from prevention to punishment and diverted most of the funding that was set aside to help prevent crime and the causes of crime and suffering to the Prison Industrial Complex. These cuts and re-distributions of funds, while argued in public were often cryptic in design, like cuts to education programs, cuts to welfare programs, cuts to drug rehabilitation programs and the money was reallocated to law enforcement and to prison construction and maintenance. This is the result of peaceful, non-civil unrest action over the past few decades has come to nearly naught and the people most affected by this system know it all too well, even though many who are not affected by it are surprised to discover it nature.


This system just described above is what provides the motivation and the justification for officers of the “law” to act with impunity concerning the lives of people of color in the United States, a fact well known by the people. So, when the Grand Jury decided not to indict Daren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, essentially what the judicial system was doing was upholding its position against people of color. The determination was that there was not probable cause to file murder charges. This could only be the case if the law was set up to tolerate this type of behavior in the first place, but what is legal and what is just are mutually exclusive and thus, not always the same thing.


This is why the people took to the streets all throughout the nation. We are demanding that what is law and what is just be made to be equitable.





The Importance of a Name: A Hypothesis about local Graffiti



I have been doing a lot of thinking about graffiti lately,  especially since viewing the graffiti in the Middle East that started hitting the walls during the Arab Spring.

Many of the images were political in nature, attacking a regime or ideology, or were likenesses of martyrs. In essense, it was one of the methods in which an active and disatisfied sub-culture who lacked access to mainstream media and who were dealing with the suppression of their ideas,  utilized to propogate messages. And when I saw this collective and active revolt against the system wherein, the suppression of ideas was not tolerated, I thought it was beautiful and inspiring.

Then, I looked around Seattle for those same types of messages, but mostly all I found were names, tags, monikers and so forth, unless they were sanctioned by some business or institution. And at first, I was dissapointed because I was looking for what I saw in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. But then I asked why all I was seeing were names, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.


The society in the United States is a credential society, that is, without documentation like a bachelor’s degree or higher, this society disregards our credibility. Entailed in that classicist ideology is the profound impact of a name: Kendrick Lamar, Jerry Springer, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, BarakObama, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, and so on. Microsoft, Google, Wells Fargo, Chase, Levi, Ross, Nike, etc.  It seems readily apparent how important it is to have a popular name.


Another phenomenon that is entailed in both the credential and nomenclature society is alienation. Without credentials, and without a name a person may grow to feel less than average and dislocated from their  fellow citizens. Most importantly, people in this group are often ignored by mainstream society and lack any real means to be noticed by society at large.

I think all this reveals something, although not asimmediately apparent as with the Arab Spring, but nonetheless, simarlarly profound in its own yet, different way. What we observed about the graffiti in the Middle East, was it was a means to overcome the suppression of a message. And I am suggesting that the repeated and reiterated tagging of one’s name is just that; a revolt against society as a whole and battling against the suppression, battling against not mattering, of being forgotten. The tagging of their names on as many walls and in as many places as they can find is an active protest against society treating them as insignificant and sending the message that their name and by extension, they themselves, the graph-artist, do matter.