People stood up on August 18th.

On August 18th 2017 there was an Anti-Hate rally in Tulsa, OK. That Friday at 5 in the evening people rallied on the doorstep of City Hall. Some with signs, some with something to say and some to stand, to be present and counted with our brothers and sisters in our community against hate and divisive rhetoric.

There were speakers that spoke about the reason we were there, and why it was so important to stand.

There was a speaker, a teacher, that brought up the basic science, and how there really are no differences between us.
There were speakers that brought up personal accounts of the past, and how its so important not to return there, that we must always move forward towards a better tomorrow.

There were speakers that gave motivations to get involved and how and where to connect yourself with an organization.

After sometime, some speeches and calls to action there was a march across the tracks, not only the proverbial kind but literal as well.

The line of marchers stretched back from Archer all the way up and across the bridge to City Hall.

We marched to Reconciliation Park, we passed people eating at restaurants and attended the game at Drillers Stadium.

Some speaking about more immediate and local issues, like the food desert that North Tulsa has become. “A food desert is an area, especially one with low-income residents, that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food. In contrast, an area with supermarkets is termed a food oasis.”

These are some of the things that happened on the evening of August 18th in Tulsa. People stood and spoke for what they believe, and how they want their, our community to be. How it use to be and that we cannot go back. We all must stand against hate and violence, and doing it together is the only way we can make it a reality.

 

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When I was a kid…..Part 1

Yes, I am that old now. Urgh, I don’t want to be but I’m starting to embrace it, I guess.

Remember the “Don’t Lay That Trash on Oklahoma” anti-littering campaign in the ’80’s? If you are not from Oklahoma you may not, so I guess this post is for all the Okies in the room.

Here is a link to the ODOT commercial spot used during the campaign.

We had a huge problem with littering in this state and to help, this campaign was developed to try and curb the littering. There is an article from Jan 31, 2015 by  Ginnie Graham, click here to read it, in the Tulsa World regarding the ODOT campaign and a few numbers covering cost for the state. When I would travel with my family on the turnpike or any other major highway there always seemed to be trash cans where you could dispose of your trash instead of throwing it out the window or dumping it somewhere. The efforts seemed to help, but with time it was allowed to fade away. I feel we have a growing litter and pollution problem again, I’m not saying the problem went away completely before, but at least the campaign kept attention on the issue. I think its a good idea to have reminders every once in a while to do the right thing. Like the big Oklahoma family I feel we are, we all need to do our parts to keep the house clean. So, “Don’t Lay That Trash on Oklahoma.”

Litter in the main pond at Centennial Park, Tulsa, OK

 

A Coors beer can floats in the water at the Centennial Park Tulsa, OK.

Anyways, one of the reasons I brought this up is because I’ve restarted an old photo project I began sometime ago. The project is about the watershed here in Tulsa and how interconnected we are as individuals and as a community to it and the rest of the water system. Littering is a big part of the pollution that we put into the water system but it is by far not the only part. The pond at Centennial Park is a part of the storm drainage system, as such it will collect debris and other pollutants from the surrounding area.

Non-Point and Point pollution are huge factors in how water is being polluted.

Non-Point Source Pollution, NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snow-melt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters. This disciption of NPS pollution is a brief breakdown of what it is, on the EPA site there is a more in depth definition.  This illustration from NOAA is a basic visualization of how NPS pollution works.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines point source pollution as “any single identifiable source of pollution from which pollutants are discharged, such as a pipe, ditch, ship or factory smokestack”

To see a current, happening right now, example of how our actions affect the environment all you have to do is look at what is going on in the Gulf Mexico this year. NOAA announced that this year’s dead zone is the biggest one ever measured. It covers 8,776 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey.

To be continued…

Standing Rock Sioux, #nodapl

Tributaries to the Missouri River and the Standing Rock reservation and the #nodapl protector's camp in North Dakota

Tributaries to the Missouri River on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, North Dakota.

I’m not a writer and I do not pretend to be, however I am a photographer and every once in a while I make a good image.  A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to visit the #nodapl pretestors protectors overflow camp. I went with the intent to photograph the camp and the people, standing up in protest against the North Dakota Access pipeline, in a more photo-journalistic way. Going into it I knew it wouldn’t be easy for me for no other reason other than my social anxiety and my general awkwardness.

I met up with my friend Kristen McCormick in Bismarck, ND she picked me up from the airport Friday night, about an hour after my scheduled arrival time, on August 26th.  Unfortunately due to being bumped from one flight to another and a weather delay, my luggage did not arrive with me, and I would not get it until right before we left to head home.  Once we got everything taken care of at the airport and I got some clothes at the store, we headed out to the reservation south of town.

Due to road blocks, it took us an extra forty minutes via an alternate route to arrive at the camp.  We made our way into the camp and to our camping site.  After unloading and getting out sleeping bags ready we walked down to the drum circle and campfire. We met up with a woman named Verona, she is a member of the Menominee tribe from Wisconsin.  While Kristen spoke with her about her experience thus far at the camp and her life in Wisconsin, I watched the campfire listening to the drum circle and prayer.

Click here for video of the campfire and drum circle.

The next morning, I started to wake a little before eight. Since we got to the camp after dark, I hadn’t seen our surroundings, well this is the view I woke to.

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The eastern view from where we were in the Standing Rock Sioux, protest camp.

When we finally got up and moving around we went for a walk, up a hill on the northern side of the camp.  The views from there was pretty amazing.

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A panorama image I captured on my phone before we headed back to the camp.

Later that morning, there was women’s group that met for a prayer down my the water. I went for a walk around before the arrival of the Crow nation.

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One of the tributaries to the Missouri River on the South side of camp.

Around lunch time, the camp was treated with the arrival of the Crow Nation. The Crow and the Sioux have had a very unstable history.  But for the greater good they were able to come together and put the past behind them and stand together as brothers and sisters.

Both tribes greet each other, speeches are made, old bonds are strengthened and new ones are formed. For me, someone not of this community it resonated and impressed upon me how important it is to be there, with kindness and compassion, for one another. This entire experience reinforced in me that no matter what, we are all one people, regardless of where we come from, the color of our skin or the patterns in our clothing, or the sound of our voice, we are all one.

Later in the day after lunch, we walked to the protest site.

At the protest site there was a ceremony, with a drum circle and prayers. They did not want photos or videos taken.

The walk from the camp to the protest site is just over a mile, the full sun and heat makes it a trek. Along the way we made several stops, to allow people to catch up and to let people catch the breath and re-hydrate.

The mass of people were made up of young and old, large and small. With all the different tribes that had come to stand with the Sioux, to me it only demonstrates the power of unification. That we are all stronger together than apart, just like a bundle of sticks.

Like I said at the beginning, I am not a writer and I don’t pretend be. This is where I guess I’m supposed to have a summation, to tell what it all means and the affect it has had on me, along with the greater meaning over all. To me its simple, there is water that we must drink, air that we must breath and the soil where we grow our food, so we must protect it. When you have political and corporate interest that put I higher value on their power and money over that of the greater good. That is where you have conflict, that will be the point at which a decision will be made to change, and hopefully for the better.

For more information and to help go here: standingrock.org

One step…breath…focus…one step…repeat.

While hiking along the Wapoma Falls Trail I captured this photo.

One step at a time, stay looking forward, keep focused, breath and take one more step then repeat. It sounds tedious, it sounds rudimentary but every once in a while we need to remember that all we need to do is to keep moving forward in whatever we are doing.

Its been a while since I have posted anything on here. In fact my blog was down for sometime until recently. So its been one year and seven months to be exact since my last post, now that is not exactly staying on top of things. I’ve thought about sharing what has been going on with me and my life. However I have struggled with how to approach it in a way that I was comfortable with and felt was appropriate. However until I am happy with the way I will share it I need to continue posting.

I’m excited and look forward to making some announcements soon regarding on going projects as well as coming events.