The Rise Up and Be Recognized Awards: Honoring a Handful of 2017's Local Heroes

The Rise Up and Be Recognized Awards: Honoring a Handful of 2017's Local Heroes

Welcome one and all to the first semi-annual, fully manual Rise Up and Be Recognized Awards. Thank you for being here, wherever that may be.

These awards were created by me as a way to recognize a handful of Washingtonians who deserve a few extra hand-claps for the way their work and their way of life contributed to positive change in 2017.

The judging process was stringent and unscientific. I created the categories to suit my fancies, and I’ve awarded fake awards to whatever number of people I please. By the end, I’ll have failed to mention just about everyone, so if you find you've been omitted, don’t despair. The pool of nominees was limited to people I know about and managed to think of while writing this, and as a periodic shut-in, that’s not as long a list of names as you might think. For instance, I only finally discovered a few months ago that Chance the Rapper is amazing, if that gives you some idea. So, if you or someone you know has been egregiously overlooked, please get in touch with me and I’m sure I’d be happy to make up some new awards in the near future.

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As Trump tries to get DAPL finished, Standing Rock responds: "We are just now beginning this fight"


Donald Trump has signed executive memoranda to authorize the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines.

I spent a month at Standing Rock near the end of last year. The violence visited by militarized police on peaceful everyday people was shocking to see up close.


As intense and vivid as the encounters were with armored police, the more surreal aspects have been even more jarring to me in the long run. What does it mean that they were there, enforcing a corporation’s desire for profit against a peaceful assembly of real-life citizens? What does it mean that the government never fully intervened, even under Obama?

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and she owns the land on the reservation that borders the much-discussed land controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. The original camp of water protectors, Sacred Stone, from which the entire #NoDAPL resistance grew, continues to sit on LaDonna’s private land. She has essentially been hosting everyone who has come to Standing Rock and stayed at the camps.

She posted a video on Facebook today addressing the many conflicting reports and the unrest that has grown out of Trump’s DAPL memo. Here is the full transcript:

Good evening, everybody.
I wanted to tell you, it has been a long day. A lot of things have happened.
We started this day with the United Nations listening to testimony on the water protectors and all of the events that happened to our water protectors. Today was hard, listening to the people who were hurt, the damage they received from Morton County Sheriffs and Army National Guard as they stood up for the water. 
But while we were hearing the testimony, we heard the decision from president trump on signing the executive memoranda — they are not executive orders yet, they are executive memoranda — for Dakota Access and XL Pipeline. 
We knew this day was coming.
We are asking everybody to say prayers today to give the people who are standing strength — wherever you are, to pray.
We have started something that we must complete, and that is the healing of our nations. That is the healing of our people.
And how do we do that? We stand up for the water. We continue to stand up for the water. And so I’m asking you to continue to stand with me. Continue to stand for the beautiful rivers, for the beautiful lakes, for the beautiful creeks. Everywhere our water flows, please stand.
We are just now beginning this fight.
My heart hurts for all those that are hurt, all those that have suffered. But I see something in each one of them. I see this strength and this pride. I see a building of a new nation, and so even as we start this new journey, this new fight — because that’s what it is — we must all stand together.
And we will continue to stand, because I will continue to stand.
I will not back down.
I will not back down. We must stand for the water. We have no other choice. When we stand for the water, we stand for the people. We stand for the people, we stand for healing of our nations. It is time for all the nations to be healed.
So, I wanted to let you know that we continue to stand. I know there’s a lot of confusion out there with the proposed closing of the camps — or not closing of the camps — who has jurisdiction? — all of these things.
Sacred Stone is not closing. We’ll be standing. And we ask you to continue to stand with us. All of you are welcome in my home and on my land. You are welcome to come back and you are welcome to stand with us, because we will continue to stand.
Be safe, everyone. Pray hard, because the journey has just begun.


Donald Trump is doing so many dangerous, awful things so quickly that we can't afford to spend any time wondering what to do.

However bad things have been, however unfair, however inequitable, however racist, however sexist, however dangerous Amurrica already was… it’s worse. Trump has his foot on the accelerator of the DeLorean and we are screaming at 88 mph toward the alternate timeline where Biff has the almanac and everything is disgusting and awful. (In fact, Trump might be Biff with the Almanac. I’ll look into that more soon.)

This is what it's like to use a port-a-potty during a blizzard in North Dakota. Photo by Lindsay Hill. 

This is what it's like to use a port-a-potty during a blizzard in North Dakota. Photo by Lindsay Hill. 

My friend Nic Cochran has been in Standing Rock throughout this brutal winter. He would love to go home and be warm indoors back home in West Virginia. He's tired. He acknowledges this. And he called Trump's memorandum "an executive order to stay."

The time is now for all of us everywhere. It’s like every movie. Goodness is under assault, truly. Find a way to stand up against it. Be brave. Be safe if you can, but be brave no matter what. Safety isn’t an option for everyone.

Here's an easy place to start. Join Seattle's visionary leader, Kshama Sawant, who has helped organize an action on Feb. 11 to demand that the Seattle City Council boycott Wells Fargo until it withdraws its DAPL funding: Stop Trump! Boycott Wells Fargo, NoDAPL!

Seattle students rise up and walk out

Five days after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton conceded the 2016 presidential election to Republican Donald Trump — a man who, in case a reminder is necessary, announced his presidential campaign in the same speech in which he called Mexican immigrants "rapists," suggested barring all Muslims from entry into the United States and has been accused of multiple cases of sexual assault and harassment — thousands of Seattle high-school students walked out of class to protest Trump's electoral win. 

All told, more than 5,000 students from 20 high schools and middle schools participated in the #NotMyPresident walkouts and protests, according to KIRO's Graham Johnson

The courage of these students' convictions is beautiful and emboldening — and should be eye-opening for those of us who, unlike the vast majority of these student protesters, actually had a say in the how the 2016 election would shape the future in which these kids must live. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer pointed out the threat that Trump's nativist, Draconian immigration policies pose to the younger generation in particular. 

Trump’s proposals and attitude towards immigrants stirred fear and outrage during the campaign, emotions that are now, belatedly, being voiced on the nation's streets. The president-elect has promoted a ban on Muslim travel into the United States, severe restrictions on legal immigration and a “deportation force” targeting undocumented residents.

Children would likely bear the brunt of Trump’s proposals, if enacted.

About 800,000 undocumented children and youths who were brought to the United States by their parents came out of hiding during President Obama’s administration. Obama issued an executive order in 2012 halting the deportation of immigrant children who arrived before age 16; those children are now known to the government and would be at risk for deportation if Trump rescinds that order.

Trump has also pledged to cut all federal funding to “sanctuary cities” like Seattle. As a sanctuary city, Seattle does not put its resources toward enforcing federal immigration laws, nor do city workers inquire about residents’ immigration status.

Seattle’s immigrant community includes a large concentration of Muslim refugees from East Africa. Trump denigrated Somali immigrants on the campaign trail, and has spoken against accepting non-Christian refugees.

Despite their inability to affect electoral outcomes at the ballot box, these student protestors raised their voices to be heard by those who can. 

Two 12-year-old Latinas from Denny International Middle School walked together with friends, holding signs. Jennifer Garnica's sign read, "Education, not deportation," while her companion, Mariana Ortega, held a sing saying, "Latinas are united."

"We want to change Trump's thoughts about us. We gotta stick together," Ortega said, adding that young Latinas need adults to help represent their interests at the ballot box. "People can vote and they can vote for us since we can't vote."


“We feel we have a candidate who is jeopardizing the country. How can he speak for anybody but himself?" said Bryce Groen, 16, class of 2019.

Even though the students are too young to vote, Groen said, they need to be heard because Trump is shaping the world they are going to inherit.

Kudos to the student protestors of Seattle — and all those across the country — for recognizing injustice when they see it and using their voices to speak on it.


Louie Opatz is a freelance writer living in south Seattle.
See and hear more of his work at