Tag: protests

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The Strong Arms of Defiance

Around the corner from where was the Urban Pumpkin is the local gym, which closed during California Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom’s first state-shuttering order in mid-March 2020 but has since defied the second shutdown, started July 13, that restricts indoor activities at many commercial businesses and institutions (like churches). Four days ago, San Diego County issued an order for the “immediate closure of Boulevard Fitness”; compliance “may be enforced by the San Diego Police Department”.

In meaningless sense of solidarity—the way flabby, beer-gut spectators feel good when watching their favorite sports team compete and win—I have checked daily for more than a month to see if the gym is open, silently cheering that it was. But on a Monday morning, following the “cease and desist” order, would Boulevard Fitness welcome patrons of exercise and good health?

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The Cats of University Heights: Rebel

The fifty-third kitty seen behind door or window appeared as my wife and I walked along Mission, between Georgia and Park, on July 17, 2020. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/452 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:17 a.m. PDT. On inspection, at home, I immediately liked the composition of the iPhone XS shot but not the “Black Lives Matter” sign above him. No amount of cropping could satisfy more—in fact less.

The problem? This series isn’t political, nor is it meant to be. Black Lives Matter isn’t just a slogan—it refers to an organization with political ambitions. For reasons too numerous for the tone of a furry feline profile, BLM is polarizing—or at least in this neighborhood. Since the riots started at the end of May, I have seen an undeniable pattern emerge across University Heights: Signs and posters in windows supporting BLM or American flags hanging outside homes—but not both. Citizens choose to voice whom or what they support by the icon displayed; for some people, that’s nothing whatsoever.

So after careful consideration, fourteen days later, with the qualifications explained above, please allow me to introduce to the series the ginger that I nickname Rebel.

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Signs of Our Turbulent Times

Six minutes after seeing the squirrel treed by Bruce, I came upon something quite unexpected along the Florida-Georgia alley between Madison and Monroe in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. The Featured Image (warning 29MB file) needs no explanation—other than camera (Leica Q2) and vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 10:15 a.m. PDT, today.

We started 2020 with a pandemic and subsequent, nearly-nationwide shutdown of most businesses and all schools. Just as states started to reopen, a black man (George Floyd) died in the custody of white police officers. People poured into the streets, protesting and rioting, in response. Seattle surrendered six blocks to vigilante demonstrators, who have cordoned off the area, which they claim to be a cop-free zone.

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Flickr a Week 23: ‘Black Lives Matter Protest, Seattle WA’

The series spotlights the current crisis raging across America for the second of three consecutive entries. To recap: Nine days ago, George Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis police. The Hennepin County corner has certified the death as a homicide, and police officer Derek Chauvin is charged with murder. Since, protests in most major metropolitans are rife with looting, property destruction, and violence.

Black Lives Matter Protest, Seattle WA“, one of a collection of street shots using the same self-title, quite literally illuminates pent-up rage and resentment from some and attempts to create anarchy by others. America is at war, with itself.

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Flickr a Week 22a: ‘I Can’t Breathe’

The entry previously planned for today is now queued for mid-July, which reveals just how far in advance posts are prepared. I made the change around 9 p.m. PDT last evening, to make place for a provocative and timely street portrait by Miki Jourdan. Reason: Protests, riots, looting, and property destruction are underway in major metropolitans across the United States; Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, MinneapolisNew York, and Washington, DC are among them. City-wide curfew is underway in LA, as I write, while Minnesota’s governor has mobilized the National Guard to the Twin Cities.

The incendiary that set the country ablaze was the death of George Floyd, an African-American man arrested six days ago for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill and who died in police custody, while Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on the victim’s neck. The tinder is much more than racial tension; many millions of Americans already are frustrated by “stay-at-home” and “social distancing” orders; closing of most businesses and all schools; cancellation of many summer events; and sudden, explosive unemployment—sacrifices meant to slow spread of  SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19. What had been economic and viral pandemics adds another: violence.

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Trump Brings Mayhem to San Diego

The #DumpTrump crowd clashed with the candidate’s supporters here in San Diego this afternoon. Ha! I didn’t know he had come to speak—at the convention center. Trouble started around 4 p.m. local time, following his speech.

I’m more taken back by the police presence than what actually happened. As I write, about two-and-a-half hours later, there are 500 cops in full riot gear and bulletproof vests outside San Diego Convention Center. The area is closed, with an order making it illegal for anyone to remain in the area. Hey, is Trump still around? Run before you get arrested, Donald. 😉 

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Flickr a Day 320: ‘Demonstration Against the Notre Dame des Landes Airport’

We follow up yesterday’s street protest pic with another: Self-titled “Demonstration Against the Notre Dame des Landes Airport”, which Philippe Leroyer captured on Feb. 22, 2014 in Nantes, France. You did not misread—and identify major reason why the photo takes the Day. The raging flames feel wrong given what looks like a war zone but is not. The pic’s composition is excellent and is more dramatic in black and white (see the color companion for comparison).

The violent clash captured by Philippe, a photojournalist, is but one in a series of tense encounters. The airport remains in the news more than 20 months later as a family faces eviction from the home for refusing to vacate lands designated for the facility. 

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Flickr a Day 98: ‘NgaNga’

Dramatic is my reaction to this protest shot from Freedom II Andres, in Makati City, Philippines, on Oct. 4, 2013. The second “Million People March” rallied against the country’s so-called pork-barrel scam that a Philippine Daily Inquirer investigative series exposed about two months earlier.

The photographer’s name is appropriate for a protest shot like this one, and spotlights his family heritage. The second of four sons, “we are all named Freedom“, he explains, “simply because our father was one of the student-activists of his time in the 1970s, when Filipinos fought against the dictatorship of then president Ferdinand Marcos”.