Hate has no home in the 98118

I'm back home again in Rainier Beach after a whirlwind six-day trip to and from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, and I'm filled this week by appreciation for my neighborhood.

The 98118 zip code is known to be "the most diverse zip code in the nation," and that diversity is reflected in the messages on the yard signs decorating the blocks.

In just driving a few minutes around our neighborhood with my sons, we found more signs demanding social justice and declaring solidarity than we had time to photograph. Here are just a few:

"Black Lives Matter"
"Silence = More Deaths"
"Stop profiling Muslims."
"Refugees are welcome here."
"No matter where you're from, we're glad you're our neighbor."
"Here we believe love is love, no human is illegal, Black lives matter, science is real, women's rights are human rights, water is life, kindness is everything."

 

These are bold words sending powerful messages at a time when we need them most. What messages are you sending?

What messages are you seeing around you? Do you have photos to share?

 

#BlackLivesMatter
#NoDAPL
#WaterIsLife
#ScienceIsReal
#NoMuslimBan

Day 7 at Standing Rock: Judgement Day

About the Music: “Judgement Day”

From the musician, Cee Goods:

The energy feels like it's coming soon. People are going to have to make conscious decisions of how they want our future to look. Are you with good? Or are you with greed?

An old Lakota prophecy says that a black snake will tear through the continent, ravaging the Earth and endangering all life on the planet if it is allowed to take hold. Similar prophecies exist across many different tribes, as do foretellings of the importance of the Seventh Generation in defeating the serpent and preserving life on Earth.

Many believe that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is the fabled black snake.

I have gotten to know a number of strong, proud, brilliant young Lakota men and women during my time here. They're a little younger than me, which makes them part of the seventh generation of their people to be born since their first contact with white European invaders. I'm not alone in sensing the power that flows through them from their ancestors. If you met them, I think you, too, would believe that we have all been called here to fight for Mother Earth as brothers and sisters.

We are the Black Snake Killers.

From Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nation:

"A "disease of the mind" has set in world leaders and many members of our global community, with their belief that a solution of retaliation and destruction of peoples will bring Peace.

In our Prophecies it is told that we are now at the crossroads: Either unite spiritually as a Global Nation, or be faced with chaos, disasters, diseases, and tears from our relatives' eyes.

We are the only species that is destroying the Source of Life, meaning Mother Earth, in the name of power, mineral resources, and ownership of land, using chemicals and methods of warfare that are doing irreversible damage, as Mother Earth is becoming tired and cannot sustain any more impacts of war.

I ask you to join me on this endeavour. Our vision is for the Peoples of all continents, regardless of their beliefs in the Creator, to come together as one at their Sacred Sites to pray and meditate and commune with one another, thus promoting an energy shift to heal our Mother Earth and achieve a universal consciousness toward attaining Peace.

As each day passes, I ask all Nations to begin a global effort, and remember to give thanks for the Sacred Food that has been gifted to us by our Mother Earth, so the nutritional energy of medicine can be guided to heal our minds and spirits.

This new millennium will usher in an age of harmony or it will bring the end of life as we know it. Starvation, war, and toxic waste have been the hallmark of the Great Myth of Progress and Development that ruled the last millennium.

To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth, falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. You yourself are the one who must decide.

You alone - and only you - can make this crucial choice, to walk in honour or to dishonour your relatives. On your decision depends the fate of the entire World.

Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.

Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger?

Know that you yourself are essential to this World. Believe that! Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this World. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending!"

Day 6 at Standing Rock: Life is Sweet

About the Music: “Life is Sweet”

(co-produced by Old Gold; vocals by @frankstickemz - aka Flowzavelt)

From the musician, Cee Goods:
Life is sweet. We value our lives. They can try and attack with any means of weaponry, but it does not match the level of commitment to stopping this pipeline. Our lives are worth too much.

(The following are actual text messages I sent to Spencer (aka Cee Goods) on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. It was too hectic to write anything coherent.)

"Please share, protest, donate - do whatever you can do. What is happening at Standing Rock is happening to all of us... whether we realize it or not."

"I fell asleep sitting up in my car from about 430 to 630. Woke up and something was going down off in the main camp in the distance. Police cars, and a call for all the protectors to come to the bridge [on Highway 1804, which has been blockaded and closed for several weeks]."

"Police are definitely here, but it's not clear if they are the perpetrators or if it's DAPL."

"Can't get through on twitter or Facebook right now. Two planes and a helicopter circling constantly right now. Lots of people shot with both gas and rubber bullets in face and chest. People have gotten tear-gassed, they're using a water cannon to soak people and things."

"Concussion grenades and rubber bullets. Shit is going down. Someone has already left in an ambulance. There are no reporters or news outlets here."

Day 5 at Standing Rock: The Stand-Off

About the Music: “The Stand-Off”

From the musician, Cee Goods:
How much can we take? Something has to give. We pursue with positivity, but has it reached a limit? Do we retaliate with the same energy that is received? Energy is shifting. Something is on the horizon.

We are here as protectors, not protesters. This young man threw himself down onto the tracks separating militarized police from peaceful demonstrators, a visible act of prayer.

As we eventually tried to leave the scene, however, police advanced. People were sprayed at point-blank range with OC gas -- a riot-caliber tear gas used in prisons. Women and Native elders were accosted and thrown to the ground. Many were arrested, many were injured.

It is said that capitalism becomes fascism when the government begins protecting the interests of corporations over people. We have long-since crossed that threshold. Please stand with Standing Rock to take back the power from the corrupt, morally bankrupt oil barons and give it to the people.

Our country was founded on a genocide of the indigenous people, and our legacy of "freedom" has been built on oppression and lies.

Will you stand by as our government attempts to quietly break another treaty? Will you stand by as our president-elect promises to abuse his power and double down on racist division and oppression?
Or will you stand with all people, with the Earth itself, by standing with Standing Rock?

Let's make America great again, just like it was when we found it.

Gwen Frost is a student in Bellingham, Wash. She grew up in Portland, Ore. She was sprayed in the eyes at point-blank range with OC gas by police in Mandan, ND. Why? Because she is peacefully standing up for what she believes is right, and that goes against the interests of the biggest pile of money.

Day 4 at Standing Rock: DreamsVille

About the Music: “DreamsVille”

From the musician, Cee Goods:
What foundation is this country built on? What values do we hold true for the land? Is it all but a dream? Do we as Americans live in a fantasy world? The harsh reality is nothing is ever what it seems.

The American flag is supposed to be hung upside down only in times of dire distress. I took this photo in Camp Oceti Sakowin at Standing Rock the morning after Trump's election, but every American flag in the community had been signaling distress for months.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL (pronounced dapple), is the source of this distress, the source of the evil that is being confronted.

DAPL is spraying the camps with chemicals from low-flying planes at night. They have donated poisoned food. They are surveilling and infiltrating the camp.

They have herded up most of the wild buffalo in the region and are keeping them in pens without food or water. Sixteen had already died as of a couple days ago. I'm sure many more have already been lost.

The protest action that makes the news is real, but it is a distraction. The police are just a pawn in this game, and the fate of Mother Earth is at stake. The real atrocities are being generated and perpetrated by DAPL, the vastly monied corporation the police are protecting at the expense of the people.

We need your help. We are under constant attack. We are in dire distress, and so is our nation. Please stand with Standing Rock today by turning your flag upside down.

10 Days, 10 Photos, 10 Songs: An Awareness Campaign for Standing Rock

For the next 10 days, I am collaborating on a Standing Rock awareness campaign with Cee Goods (who also happens to be my brother-in-law). He will be creating one instrumental track each day, each based on a photo I have taken at Standing Rock. This will end on Thanksgiving, because the way of life and respect for the land that the Native Americans have always fought for and tried to preserve still rings true today.

Day 1: "Dark Love"
Day 2: "K.I.N.G.S."
Day 3: "End of Trump"
Day 4: "DreamsVille"
Day 5: "The Stand Off"
Day 6: "Life is Sweet"
Day 7: "Judgement Day"
Day 8: "Diamond"
Day 9: "Major Keys"
Day 10: "Kings Return"