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The good news is that Net Neutrality isn’t dead yet and the above graphic is only an animated gif. If the Trump Administration has its way, then you’ll really be encountering graphics like this whenever you’re visiting this blog or other sites that don’t have the backing of the big telecommunications corporations (i.e., Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, and AT&T) while waiting unusually long times to access whatever you want online. For more details, visit Battle for Net Neutrality or the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

Ramadan

For all the times I’ve been to Dupont Circle, I’ve never went there during DC Pride Weekend, even though I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area for years. The only reason why I went this year was because Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School was held at the Bier Baron that day. I originally planned on writing one post until I looked through the pictures and realized that I had taken so many that it really warranted writing two separate blog posts about my one day in Dupont Circle during DC Pride Weekend. This post will focus on the photographs I took that day while the Dr. Sketchy’s post will have to wait until the next one.

DC Pride Weekend had a big parade and party that took place in Dupont Circle the previous day. I wasn’t able to make it because of tight finances (the Metro system is not only getting more expensive but yet another fare increase is set to take place by the end of this month) and this heatwave has settled in the area so the temperature reached a high of around 95 degrees F.

The following day it was still very hot and humid with highs reaching 95 once again. At least the Metro trains are air conditioned and I spent as much time in the various air conditioned stores as possible. While Saturday was the big party and parade in Dupont Circle, Sunday was slated as a day of protest on the Mall. I wasn’t able to make it to that protest mainly because I attended church in the morning and Dr. Sketchy’s started at 3 p.m. so there was literally no way I could squeeze going to the National Mall in between (especially given Metro’s flaky weekend schedule where you could wait anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-an-hour or even longer depending on which stop you’re at and if Metro is doing any kind of maintenance work on a certain line at a certain station). I saw this couple who were clearly on their way to the Mall march.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle Metro station, which was definitely decorative for the occasion by having its list of scheduled trains arranged like the rainbow flag.

It was also fitting that the same station had this banner ad for Cher’s upcoming concert at the MGM casino in nearby National Harbor.

I didn’t mind missing the big march on the Mall, especially when I stepped outside and felt the high heat and high humidity smack me in the face. There were people milling around in Dupont Circle but I suspect that there were far more people protesting at the Mall. The first thing I did was head over to Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe where I saw these LGBTQ-friendly signs.

There was also this excellent sign that made fun of Donald Trump’s notorious “covfefe” tweet by announcing a new Covfefe cocktail featuring White Russian while providing quotes from former FBI director James Comey’s recent testimony that introduced the phrase “honest loyalty” into the English language.

I browsed among the books at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe while noticing this prominent shelf towards the front of the store featuring LGBTQ books.

I also saw rainbow flags and store patrons who were all decked out in rainbow and/or LGBTQ-themed attire .

After Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe I walked along the streets of Dupont Circle where I noticed rainbow flags everywhere and people dressed in rainbows. I took the bulk of these pictures before and after Dr. Sketchy’s. (Hooray for longer daylight hours!)

I eventually made my way to the Bier Baron, where Dr. Sketchy’s took place. Even that place was decked out in rainbows.

I even got into the rainbow festivities by taking pictures of my colored pencils all lined up in a loose Roy G Biv rainbow pattern (which also included colors one usually don’t see in a rainbow like brown and white) before Dr. Sketchy’s began.

Like I wrote earlier, I’ll devote my next post to what I drew at Dr. Sketchy’s.

While there were rainbow colored palettes everywhere in Dupont Circle, I found this one interesting non-rainbow thing that I photographed. This is a tiny statue (which reaches no higher than my calf) of a baby sleeping on top of a baby elephant. How cute!

I ended my time at the fountain that’s located right in the middle of Dupont Circle. There were a few people chilling out even though it was dinnertime and the temperature was very hot and humid. Strangely the fountain was turned off that day plus the basin had no water in it. (I honestly don’t know what is going on with that fountain.)

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for my next post on attending Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at the Bier Baron during DC Pride Weekend. 🙂

Passover

I went to the Light City event in Baltimore on its second night, which fell on April Fool’s Day, but this event was definitely no joke. I wrote a previous post about that night where I wrote about what it was like to see my own animation, The March of Liberty, being shown on a giant screen at such a popular event like Light City while posting a reaction video I made. I’m finally getting around to sharing the rest of the photos. (I took a bunch of pictures that night so I ended up having to make decisions on which photos to use.)

I arrived before sunset because I wanted to find where the On Demand area was located. As you can see in the pictures, it was a very cloudy day.

I took a few pictures of Camden Yards when I was on my way to transferring from the Camden Yards light rail stop to the Charm City Circulator heading towards the Inner Harbor. Opening day would take place just a few days after I took these pictures.

Camden Yards

Here’s a statue of Cal Ripken’s retired number.

Camden Yards

Here’s a statue of famous baseball player Babe Ruth, who was born in Baltimore.

Camden Yards

These painted baseballs on the sidewalk near the statue leads the way to the nearby Babe Ruth Museum.

Camden Yards

The street banners proclaim that this year is the 25th anniversary of the day that the Baltimore Orioles began playing their home games at Camden Yards.

Camden Yards

I ended up traveling way out to Pier 6 in the Inner Harbor. I took a few pictures while I was blundering around, starting with one of the Harborplace pavilions, which is currently undergoing remodeling and renovation.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Here is what one of the Light City art pieces looked like in broad daylight.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

I walked past the Power Plant, where I noticed the guitar-themed railing that’s currently located outside of the Hard Rock Cafe.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Located opposite the Power Plant is a tropical-themed bar known as Dick’s Last Resort.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Some lights resembling birds roosting in trees outside of the Pier 5 Hotel.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

A whimsical display that looks like something out of the film Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory outside of an office building.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant at its Pier 5 location.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Three umbrella-filled boats floating in Baltimore Harbor.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

I decided that I needed to take a break so I found a bench where I ate my dinner. (It was a fried chicken dinner with thick fries and a roll that I purchased at a Royal Farms store located in Linthicum before I took the light rail into Baltimore.) While I was eating this immigration rights protest march had arrived at the Pier 5 area of the Inner Harbor and the protesters walked right past the bench where I was eating my dinner. I took the opportunity to take some pictures.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

The marchers made their way to the Inner Harbor Lighthouse, which was being used as a display area for a Light City exhibit about immigrants. A post-march rally was held next to that exhibit.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

I finally found the On Demand area. I took a photo of the sign.

Light City, Baltimore, April 1, 2017

I even took a closeup of the area of the sign where my name was printed.

Light City, Baltimore, April 1, 2017

Here’s a shot of the On Demand screen, which was showing another video, along with a glimpse of the backs of the adirondack chairs that were provided for people to sit in before sunset.

On Demand Area at Light City

Here’s another shot of the On Demand screen, showing a different video, at night.

On Demand Area at Light City

Like I wrote in a prior entry, I waited outside in the cold for over two hours until my film was finally shown. When it finally appeared I got very enthusiastic. I shot a short reaction video. I also shot stills of my film being on screen. Maybe I shot too many stills but it was such a rare opportunity to see my video being shown in a public venue like this that I felt like I had to document it from all angles (including some shots of people sitting in the chairs) so I can prove to other people that one of my videos was actually shown in public like this.

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

As for how the people who were there responded to my video, I wasn’t able to get any kind of an accurate gauge as to whether people liked it or not. I didn’t get any boos. But I also didn’t hear any cheers. I saw a few people sitting in chairs watching it when I was there. By the way, you can view that animation, The March of Liberty, right here.

After my film was shown, I left the On Demand area. I had sat in the cold for so long that my body felt stiff. I also had to start making a move towards the nearest light rail station so I can catch one of the last trains out of the city. I managed to take a few more pictures of the other Light City exhibits as I made my way back to the light rail station while wading my way through the massive crowds at the same time. (Yes, the second annual Light City was just as crowded as the first year was.)

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Even a few Baltimore police officers blended in with Light City.

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Here is one of the bar tents that were set up at the event. As you can see in the picture below, it drew a lot of people.

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

The last photo shows one of the Light City exhibits being reflected in the back of a bus stop terminal.

Light City in Baltimore

There were more to Light City that what I shot but between fatigue and trying to make the light rail, I wasn’t able to see it all. I had planned to making one return trip but the first night I had scheduled—which was two nights before the final night—rained very heavily. So I put it off until the following night, which was the night before the final night, only to have a very cold front with heavy winds replace that heavy rainstorm. I wasn’t able to make it the last night because I went to the annual Sakura Matsuri festival in Washington, DC and I really couldn’t physically handle two festivals on the same day.

I found out on Facebook about a dance protest that was being organized by the LGBTQ activist group Werk for Peace. They were protesting the Trump Administration giving plum jobs to homophobes along with its policy towards Muslim immigrants. The protest started at the Trump International Hotel and it ended at the White House. It was a pretty joyous protest despite the fact that it was bitter cold outside. (The temperature was in the low 30’s.) The high point was when they played Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and people were cheering and dancing outside the White House. Here’s a short video of the protest when the people initially gathered and danced outside the Trump International Hotel.

Here are my still photos, starting with the Trump International Hotel.

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

The next photo shows the pickup truck that led the protest as it blasted dance music.

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

The protest went down Pennsylvania Avenue as people were literally dancing in the streets.

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

The employees at the White House Gifts store came to the front door and cheered the protesters on. One of the protesters (draped in a rainbow flag) ran over to the store and embraced the employees.

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

The protest ended at the White House as people were dancing in the streets while holding anti-Trump signs.

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

This next photo made a humorous reference to the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre.

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

I’ll admit that this protest was small compared to the Women’s March on Washington but I don’t mind because I wasn’t crammed in as much and there also seemed to be more of a sense of joy as people were cheering and dancing. It also didn’t receive as much media coverage, aside from this WTOP story.

I know I’m pretty slow in posting my own experiences with the Women’s March on Washington. With so many other people spending the past week writing their own experiences with the march on various blogs, websites, and social media, I felt like I could take the luxury of delaying my own report. (Besides, this blog is NOT a news site.)

This post has only my own personal experience with this march. It will include my opinions based on what I saw. It’s possible that you may disagree with my perceptions based on what I saw and did at that march. That’s fine. I’m only writing this to add to what has already been posted about this march. I’m hoping that one day in some distant future some historian will read what other people have posted online, including this post, to gain insight as to what happened and write some kind of a definitive account of this march.

Here is my account of what I saw and did at the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017. It was a very dreary cloudy day, which is reflected in all of the pictures I took of the march that day. The ground was wet because it has been raining off and on for the past few days (including President Trump’s Inauguration the day before). Despite the gloomy clouds, it didn’t rain once. I was still glad I brought my folding chair because it was too wet and muddy to sit on the ground.

Participants were encouraged to wear knitted pink pussycat hats. I didn’t have one and I really didn’t want to knit a hat on such short notice because knitting can be such a time-consuming effort. (That whole march was announced just a month or two before.) I ended up wearing my Grumpy Cat hat that I originally purchased at Party City for $10 for a Halloween Party that took place at my church back in 2015.

Women's March on Washington

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

I had a number of people praise my hat, including a Metro security guard, which was pretty cool. One little girl at the march who admired my hat told me that she has recently gotten Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book that she loves very much.

I drove to the nearest Metro station on my own because I live pretty close to that station. I originally met up with some people from my Unitarian Universalist church congregation outside the Greenbelt Metro station at 7:40 a.m. (which was the agreed meeting time in advance).

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Even that early in the morning it was pretty crowded. I later learned from other people via Facebook that by the afternoon one had to wait up to two hours in order to enter the Greenbelt Metro station.

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

We all boarded the Metro. The train we were on was pretty full. I saw two of the women sitting underneath this ad that was pretty appropriate given where we were headed.

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Once we arrived at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station I got separated from my church friends because of the crowd of people, as you can see in the next few photographs.

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

I eventually went over to the Department of Health & Human Services building because people from my church decided to march with the larger Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ) they were all meeting there.

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

So I caught up with my friends again. But that reunion was short-lived once the UUSJ started marching because I was separated from them again because of the throng of people and I didn’t see them again for the rest of the time that I was at the march.

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

I managed to make it to the Mall. At first it was pretty roomy and I was able to set up my folding chair so I could rest in it and eat my lunch (which I brought with me because I know from previous experience that the food vendors tend to draw long lines at large events like this). I set up on the perimeter of the Mall just across the street from the Native American Museum. I folded up my chair after lunch because I needed to use the Don’s Johns port-a-pottle that was set up on the Mall for both yesterday’s Inauguration and today’s Women’s March. I went in this long line just so I can relieve myself.

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

After the bathroom break I walked around some more and snapped some pictures. I noticed that the Mall was filling up with more and more people while I was walking in the center of the Mall. For the record, I didn’t see or hear any of the people making speeches because I was so far back on the Mall. (The stage was set up closer to the Washington Monument and I was mostly at the end that is closer to the U.S. Capitol Building.) There were so many people that there was no way I could even think about making my way closer to the stage. I saw a jumbotron at one point but that was crowded with people as well and it was partly obscured with trees so I wasn’t able to see or hear anything.

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

I became so tired of walking that I decided to go back to the perimeter near the Native American Museum in an effort to open my portable folding chair again and sit down. Except I found myself trapped among the crowds that I literally could not go in any direction. I was stuck like this for at least an hour or more. I later saw this video that the British TV station Channel 4 had posted on its Twitter feed giving an overhead shot showing how packed the Mall became that day.

I learned through the rumor mill that people were busy speaking on stage and all the speeches ran overtime so the march to the White House didn’t even begin at its originally scheduled 1 p.m. time. People were pushing and crowding in all directions and I was afraid that there would be a disaster similar to what happened in the U.K. nearly 30 years ago when people at a soccer match were literally crushed to death. People near me kept on chanting “LET US MARCH!” and “LESS TALK, MORE WALK!” to no avail. It was almost like the people on stage were the 1% and the people being crammed like sardines on the grounds of the Mall were the 99% and the 1% could’ve cared less about the safety of us 99% plebes.

At one point a person near me literally fell to the ground and other people managed to lift him up back on his feet. If it weren’t for these helpful people, there’s a chance that this guy would’ve been trampled and crushed to death. It was literally so harrowing at times that I kept on thinking that if I had fallen down to the ground, I might as well say good-bye to this life because I would’ve been crushed and trampled to death.

The only other time I’ve ever seen the Mall get this crowded was at the 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and March to Restore Fear that was put on jointly by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Except that rally had areas around the perimeter of the Mall where people who got tired of being crushed by the crowds on the Mall could walk towards the edges and take a breather. The Women’s March didn’t even have that convenience because I saw the perimeter across Independence Avenue being just as crowded as on the Mall itself.

Eventually it filtered down that the organizers on stage had decided to start marching to the White House. Hordes of people began to quickly empty out of the Mall. Once again there were empty spaces on the Mall so I decided to pull out my portable folding chair and rest again. I was exhausted as hell. I decided against following the crowd to the White House, look for the nearest Metro station, and just go home.

By that point both my smartphone and the back-up battery recharger had both run out of power so my smartphone was dead. I tried to retrace where I had walked until I found a sign pointing the way to the Federal Center Southwest Metro station. On my way to that Metro station I walked along a section of sidewalk near the Department of Health & Human Services Building that had the giant cobblestones instead of the usual smooth sidewalk. I literally tripped an landed on my knees. Some helpful bystanders helped me get back on my feet and asked me if I was okay. The good news was that I was still able to walk. The bad news was that I ended up with a bruised and stiff right knee. (My left knee somehow escaped being unscathed.) I spent Saturday night at home applying a heating pad to my knee until bedtime when I put on one of my compressing kneepads. This is what my right knee looked like the following morning.

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

Once I made it back to Maryland, I drove away from the Greenbelt Metro station parking lot and I noticed a lot of people walking outside of the parking lot. I saw the cars parked at a nearby business park and an apartment complex, which was reminiscent of the 2010 Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally when I also saw cars parked at a distance from the Metro parking lot. I decided to drive to Three Brothers Pizza in Beltway Plaza where I order two slices of cheese pizza and a medium Diet Pepsi to go. I really wasn’t in the mood to cook anything for myself after spending a full day that that march. At least I was still able to walk despite my injured knee (which became stiff and sore) and the food line was relatively short so it was no big deal.

As I look back on this, I have to admit that I’m of two minds about my participation in the Women’s March on Washington. On the one hand, I thought it was great that I took part in something that literally broke all previous records for other marches and rallies. For years I had to deal with elders both in my church and in my neighborhood talking about how they took part in the 1963 March on Washington (where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech) and I envied them because my parents didn’t go and, if they had, I would’ve been way too young to remember. So the next time I hear an elder talk about hearing MLK give his “I Have a Dream” speech in person, I can reply, “Well, that’s nothing compared to going to the 2017 Women’s March on Washington and being among the throngs of people who broke all attendance records for a large political rally of its type.” (And that’s not to mention that the Women’s March took place just five days after the MLK holiday.)

I was thrilled to see the comparison pictures between the Women’s March and the Inauguration that was held on the Mall the day before and seeing that the protesters definitely outnumbered the Inauguration attendees. I heard that President Donald Trump’s thin-skinned ego received a serious blow over that fact. He deserves it for the way he ran his campaign where he catered only to white heterosexual Christian men with no disabilities at the expense of everyone else. In a way, it was worth it for me to take the time to do something that probably has seriously hurt The Donald’s feelings and if I had to endure being packed in like sardines on the Mall and suffering a bruised right knee as a result, well so be it. I’d rather suffer with a stiff knee than have The Donald’s thin skin and fragile ego that results in him frequently making an ass of himself on Twitter.

It was super cool finding out hours later after I was back home that this particular march was one of many marches that were literally held all over the world and many of those marches (particularly ones held in places like Boston, Chicago, London, and Paris) were just a huge as the one in DC.

On the other hand, it was harrowing as hell given the throngs of people who literally crammed into the Mall like sardines. It was a miracle that no one got crushed to death. I wished the organizers had been more flexible and practical in cutting the stage presentations short so people can march sooner and clear out the Mall. I know that famous people spoke on stage and doing something like this would’ve bruised a few celebrity egos. But I’d rather see bruised celebrity egos than risk innocent people getting crushed and trampled to death on the Mall.

I’ve read some of the progressive criticisms of the march online saying that it was organized mainly to highlight the concerns of upper class white heterosexual women who supported Hillary Clinton for president. I saw plenty of people wearing Clinton campaign buttons and t-shirts. I even saw a couple of people schlepping life-sized cardboard standees of Hillary Clinton. I found it interesting to note that Bernie Sanders not only attended the march in his home state of Vermont but he also spoke that that march as well while his one-time Democratic primary rival, Hillary Clinton, was nowhere to be found at any of the women’s marches anywhere in the world.

But the majority of protesters I saw did not indicate their support of Clinton at all. I saw people wearing Bernie Sanders buttons and t-shirts. I saw people holding “Black Lives Matter” and “Trans Lives Matter” signs. I saw Muslim women and Latinos holding signs indicating their fear of increasing anti-Islamic and anti-Latino sentiment coming from the Trump Administration. I even saw the occasional “We are the 99%” slogan that originated from the Occupy Wall Street movement.

While the march in DC was overwhelmingly white, I saw plenty of people of color who also marched as well as people who didn’t support Clinton or Trump at all. I know the march wasn’t perfect. I personally would’ve preferred more speeches made by non-celebrity activists representing ordinary everyday Americans and less speeches made by Hollywood celebrities because this march was supposed to represent the interests of everyday ordinary Americans who lack the wealth and privilege that the Hollywood celebrities enjoy. But you’re never going to get 100% perfection out of anything in this life and I have to admit that this march seemed very promising in that it hinted of the potential rise of a genuine alternative opposition movement against the Trump Administration. Whether that potential gets realized won’t be known until later this year.

The next day I actually watched videos of the speeches that I found on YouTube. Every speech I watched were inspiring and powerful. I’m only sorry that I wasn’t able to hear any of it on the Mall when I was actually there. I am glad that YouTube exists so I can hear these speeches in their entirety without having them be edited by some broadcast network news organization.

At this point only time will tell whether this march will have a long-term impact on average people in the U.S. I hope something good comes of this. Otherwise I will feel frustrated that I spent a huge amount of time being nearly crushed to death on the Mall while suffering with a bruised knee for nothing.

Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland has recently joined other houses of worship in putting up a Black Lives Matter sign. Here are a few photos of this new sign.

photo1

photo2

photo3

Things are a total mess. I’m at the point where I have to limit my time on Twitter and Facebook because I see so many posts from people that basically says this:

If you voted for the candidate I voted against—UNFRIEND/UNFOLLOW ME NOW!!!

It’s totally emotionally draining to read posts like that. I wrote last week’s post titled A Message to All Those on Social Media Who are Blaming Jill Stein Voters For President Donald Trump because I saw so many posts blaming Jill Stein voters for Hillary Clinton’s defeat when, in reality, that’s clearly not the case because Jill Stein only got 1% of the votes. Even if the Green Party had decided against fielding any candidates for this year’s elections, Hillary Clinton still would’ve lost.

All I know is that there is chaos in the U.S. There have been an increase in hate crimes ever since last Tuesday. I can only imagine the fear that a Muslim or even a person of color feels ever time he or she walks out the door and that person starts to wonder whether he/she will return home in one piece.

Last Monday I visited the Trump International Hotel in downtown DC. I remember the streets were relatively calm and empty. Now, as I look back on that day, I have to admit that it was literally the calm before the storm. Today one of my friends who works in the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building next to the Trump International Hotel posted some photos on her Facebook timeline of a protest that happened outside that hotel today. It turns out that the DC public school students staged a walkout and marched to the hotel to protest the election of Donald Trump.

Today’s protest is just one of many that have been breaking out all across the United States this week.

At one point I thought about fleeing to Canada if Donald Trump got elected. I’ve changed my mind for now. My Canadian friends have been urging me to stay and fight. (They are all spooked about what’s going on south of the border.) In addition I have to think about my mother, who’s struggling with multiple sclerosis and she has been in the hospital a few times this year with sepsis. There’s no way I can even consider taking her with me on an 8-12 hour drive to the Canadian border because I’m not sure if she would even survive the trip. And I would hate like hell to abandon her in the U.S. while I go off to Canada.

So I’m staying put while watching photos and videos of all kinds of protests. Tomorrow there’s supposed to be this new video by Keith Olbermann called The Resistance that’s going to premiere online at 8 a.m. Sounds kind of subversive to me. (LOL!)

Next week is the Thanksgiving holiday weekend so who knows what will happen.

UPDATE (November 16, 2016): Here’s the first episode of Keith Olbermann’s new video series called The Resistance.

Over a week ago I got a notice (via one of the e-mailing lists that I’m currently on) of a Bernie Sanders march that was taking place in Baltimore. It was one of many that have broken out all over the country over the past few months which have drawn many people yet the mainstream media had ignored it. I only knew about these marches because of Facebook and Twitter.

I found out that the march was supposed to start in the Penn-North area of Baltimore, which is the same area where those riots broke out in the wake of the police murder of Freddie Gray last year. (You can see the photos I took during this period of both the May Day protest and my trek through the Penn-North area on Cinco de Mayo, exactly one week after the riots.)

I know from my previous trip to Penn-North that parking can be hard to find plus there are a bunch of boarded up row houses that I really don’t feel comfortable in parking my car nearby. I decided to park my car at the North Linthicum station so I could take the light rail into the city. Even though I made every effort to get out early, the downside of relying on public transportation on the weekends is that public transportation runs less often on the weekends. (That’s true for both Baltimore and DC.) I arrived just as the light rail left the station so I had to wait another 15-20 minutes for the next train to arrive. In the meantime it was cold outside plus it was raining off and on. I was still determined to press on despite the cold and gloomy weather so I got on the next light rail train going into the city.

I got off at the Lexington Market light rail stop then transferred to the nearby Metro stop that’s located just a few feet away. When I entered the station, I noticed these really pretty tile pieces that lined the ceiling.

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So I had to wait a bit for the next Metro train to show up. I got off at the Penn-North station. The next photo shows the CVS that was torched during last year’s riots. I remember when the news media made a huge deal over what happened with the implication that the people were animals for burning down a pharmacy. Well the same CVS has since rebuilt and re-opened but you won’t hear about it on Fox News or CNN.

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I was trying to look for a group of people brandishing Bernie Sanders signs and I walked around a bit. The next two photos show boarded up row houses that are literally a stone’s throw from the CVS.

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Penn-North is such a mix between nice buildings (which I photographed last year) and deteriorating boarded-up row houses. This mural (which includes famous jazz singer and Baltimore native Billie Holliday) is located at the intersection of Pennsylvania and North Avenues.

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I caught up with a single man who had a Bernie Sanders sign. He told me that the group had already left. He said that the march would end at Penn Station and he suggested that I get in my car and drive there. Unfortunately for me my car was at the North Linthicum light rail stop so I ended up taking the next MTA bus to the Station North Arts District then walk to Penn Station. When I arrived I didn’t see any crowds or marches. I went inside where I did a search on my smartphone and found that the march route wasn’t anywhere near Penn Station. In fact, the final destination was the Hollywood Diner Food Truck Park on Saratoga Street, which is nowhere near Penn Station or the Station North Arts District. Yeah, that guy was definitely wrong about the march’s destination. Unfortunately it was around 1 p.m. by that point and the march was scheduled to end at 2. By the time I made my way to the North Avenue light rail station and take it to the Charles Center stop then walk a few blocks, the march would be over.

So I sat on a bench and ate the lunch that I had packed with me. Being inside Penn Station brought back a lot of memories for me. For a few years when I was a child my family would take the Amtrak to Ohio to visit my great-aunt who lived in a small town along with her children (my cousins) who all lived in the same area. (Some lived in that same small town while others lived in another small town located just a few miles away.) We would go to Penn Station to catch that train. That station looked really huge to me when I was very young. Seeing it as an adult, I have to say that it’s pretty small compared to Union Station in Washington, DC or Grand Central Station in New York City. Yet Penn Station has the same kind of classical Greco-Roman decor that the larger aforementioned stations have, including stained glass ceilings, Roman columns, and little touches of classical art.

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After I finished eating my lunch and taking pictures inside, I stepped outside where it started to rain a bit harder. I took a couple of interesting shots outside of Penn Station.

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Ultimately I headed back on Charles Street towards North Avenue. I’ve been to the Station North Arts District enough times (thanks mostly to attending sessions of the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at The Wind-Up Space) that I know my way around the area. I’ve noticed some more arty touches that have been added since my last trip to the area a few months ago, such as these painted storm drains.

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I walked past the BAMF Cafe, which is a new geek-themed cafe that had opened last year. I last went there just before it opened full time when the windows were loaded with all kinds of cool looking toys. I decided to step inside and see what the place looked like because it intrigued me. (Just the word “BAMF” brought back memories because my then-husband used to collect comics, especially The X-Men. One of the characters in that comic book, Nightcrawler, was capable of doing teleportation and he used to make a “BAMF” noise everytime he used that power.)

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I found that the cafe has a very cozy interior that’s full of toys, art, and books on all aspects of the geek fandom including comic books, science fiction, horror, anime, and cult movies. It was such a visual treat.

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I didn’t order any food or drink because I had just consumed my lunch at Penn Station. I plan on doing so the next time I find myself in the Station North Arts District.

The weather started to rain harder so I decided to cut this trip a bit short and head back to pick up my car that was parked at the North Linthicum light rail stop. While I walked towards the North Avenue light rail stop, I saw this really cool looking decorated car that was just parked on North Avenue.

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I attempted these two artsy shots when I was crossing an overpass.

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The last photo shows this really cool painted mural that’s painted on the side of an underpass on North Avenue near the light rail stop. (You can really see the raindrops coming down in the foreground.)

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I later found out that there was very little media coverage of the Bernie Sanders march in Baltimore. In fact, the only media story I found was this video that was shot by The Real News.

I’ve just learned this morning that longtime White House protester Concepcion Picciotto passed away yesterday. Ever since 1981 she had been protesting around the clock against nuclear weapons and for world peace outside the White House. It all started when, in response to President Reagan’s policy of escalating the Cold War against the Soviet Union by building more nuclear weapons, a peace activist named William Thomas decided to set up a protest camp in Lafayette Square outside the White House on June 3, 1981. Concepcion Picciotto joined him just a few months later in August, 1981 where they would staff the camp 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After Thomas’ death in 2009 Picciotto kept up the camp with help from other local activists who would watch the tent for Picciotto whenever she needed to take breaks.

Over the years that protest camp was quite a fixture in Lafayette Square. That camp has remained through the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. It has remained erect despite the end of the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm, the NATO bombing of Serbia over its policy in Kosovo, 9/11, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and the frequent calls for the U.S. to start wars in Syria and Iran. It has outlasted similar protest camps that were set up in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza as local off-shoots of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. As time went on the camp because a designated tourist stop as part of the general White House tour. Many protest demonstrations of all kinds of causes would either begin or end their march in Lafayette Square so the protesters can have a chance to talk with the woman who became a living legend among peace activists. She had her own YouTube channel consisting of just five videos that were all uploaded two years ago. She even made a cameo appearance in Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. Concepcion Picciotto has endured all kinds of weather along with gawking tourists, snickers, taunts, and outright hostility from strangers yet she never wavered because she placed so much importance on the cause of world peace.

I first saw that tent during an occasional outing to Washington, DC while I was a student at the University of Maryland at College Park and I would continue to walk past that camp numerous times over the years. The last time I encountered that camp was when I checked out the Occupy Monsanto protest back in 2013 when the march began in Lafayette  Square. Here are the photos of Concepcion Picciotto and her camp that I shot back then.

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Concepcion Picciotto can be seen in the next photo wearing a blue vest and a large helmet-like hat on the right.

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Now that Concepcion Picciotto is dead the fate of the protest camp she has left behind is unknown as of this writing. You may feel tempted to write her off as crazy for giving up the last 35 years of her life for a single cause or believe that her method was too idealistic and foolhardy but you can’t deny that she was very passionately committed to the cause of world peace. If more people had her mindset the world would be a different place with less violence and suffering.

I spent the first Sunday in December attending another session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at the Bier Baron in Washington, DC.

When I got off the Metro at Dupont Circle I encountered this protest.

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Yes, it was a group of Muslims who were protesting ISIS and terrorism in general. I hear so many right wing people in the media saying that all Muslims are terrorists but this march I saw directly contradicted that belief. Not only are all Muslims not terrorists but only a very tiny majority of them are actually waging violent jihad.

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These right wingers will denounce all Muslims for being terrorists yet they are strangely silent on white Christians who also commit terrorism, such as Robert Lewis Dear and Dylann Storm Roof.

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Having seen first-hand the outpouring of Muslims denouncing the terrorist extremists like ISIS makes Donald Trump’s call for a total ban on Muslims from entering the United States and refusal to rule out warrantless searches and ID cards for Muslims even more odious and more Hitler-like.

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The next two photographs show some of the flyers and postcards that the protesters were handing out to bystanders.

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I took one last shot as the protesters were walking south of Dupont Circle.

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I ate a quick lunch as Cosi then I walked over to the Bier Baron. On my way there I took a couple of photos of this wall mural that’s located on the side on this building on P Street, N.W.

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Not only does this mural depict a scene from The Wizard of Oz but it is also an example of a trompe l’oeil with a depiction of a realistic window that looks like it faces a view of the yellow brick road and the Emerald City in the distance.

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I arrived at the Bier Baron just in time for the start of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. A bellydancer named Naimah was the model so she was more clothed than the burlesque performers who usually serve as models. But she definitely had a way with a sword, as some of these drawings show.

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There was only one contest at that event and I took part in it. Since the latest Star Wars movie was opening soon, the challenge was to put Naimah in a scene from any of the films. I had Naimah laying triumphantly on the body of Jabba the Hutt, whose throat she slashed with one of her long swords. That drawing didn’t make it to the finals.

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After the contest I did a few more drawings of Naimah before the event ended.

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Even though the event ended at 6 p.m. it felt like it was much later at night since it has been getting dark earlier and earlier. I noticed a bar and restaurant located around the corner from the Bier Baron called The Fireplace, which has a fireplace facing the street outside.

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The fireplace at The Fireplace is covered with plexiglass, which felt warm when I put my hand on it.

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I also made a brief stop at Fantom Comics since it was on the way back to the Metro station.

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As you can guess from the name, Fantom Comics is a comic book store that’s located on the second floor of a building. The stairwell leading to the store is decorated with posters, drawings, and paintings, which makes it very colorful and interesting.

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