The #blacklivesmatter rally/march on June 6, 2020. Austin, TX.
People are angry. People are hurting. People are dying.
There's a lot to be said about the current Black Lives Matter movement and the uprising against police brutality in the U.S. I have seen a lot of things change in my brief lifetime. I've lived to watch the telephone evolve from a clunky, tethered unit to a mobile device capable of accessing near-infinite knowledge and instant communication that you can carry in your pocket. I've witnessed music recordings produced onto vinyl, magnetic tape, compact discs, through digitally streaming, back to vinyl and cassettes. The world used to warn us of talking to strangers to now meeting them through a slew of online apps that link people to collaborate or date or help us get a job. There are even some apps that allow strangers to pick you up and take you somewhere or deliver groceries to your doorstep. Some things haven't changed much. The beaches are still beaches for recreation or exercise, most vehicles still have four wheels, and people continue to protest and riot for actions they do not agree with from our governing bodies, walking and acting alongside complete strangers.
History also has a way of repeating itself as now, in varying ways, it is outright deadly to go outside at any time of day.
Especially if your skin color is a shade "too dark".
Police killings of African-Americans is at an all time high. Or perhaps, the mobile device I just mentioned is now recording these killings and allowing us to share them across the world--even in real time. Showing us almost daily what has actually been happening for centuries. Black people in the United States have been receiving a nearly perpetual imbalance from opportunity or assistance, down to their very livelihood and existence. To make matters worse, they have also been unjustly slain in vast numbers by those sworn to protect us--the police.
George Floyd's murder in the eyes of the public seems to have been the straw that broke the America's back. And it's about time. We are living during a revolution where people have been pushed past their tipping points and have witnessed far too many Black individuals senselessly gunned down by police to no longer stand idly by, now making loud, visible notice that these deaths are rooted in racism and are no longer acceptable.
Even among all the pain, anger, and frustration there were still plenty of smiles and peace.
Across the country, citizens are taking to the streets in protest against the unfair division of power and privilege between Black- and White-America. Some march peacefully, chanting and singing, giving speeches of pain and hope, expressing the pain we are all feeling for this marginalized group of fellow Americans. Others are choosing to riot, loot, and aggressively fight back against a militarized police for the lifetime of abusing the power bestowed upon them by the very citizens they are intended to work for. While I feel there is space [and honestly, just reason] for both, I chose to participate in a peaceful march led by the Austin Justice Coalition on June 6, 2020 here in Austin, TX. I joined thousands of Americans and Austinites listen to leaders and members of our black communities tell their stories, struggles, and plans for a better and more equalized tomorrow. I watched people of every color march side by side, hand in hand, with pride and power.
We chanted, we applauded, we listened.
Protesters gathered at the front gates because they are not allowed to convene on the Capitol grounds.
While we are all still navigating what a new world will look like beyond Covid-19, the end of police brutality, and hopefully the death of racisim in this country as well, we all need to do our part to equal this imbalance that has plagued our country since its invasion/inception. Black America and all people of color need to feel as safe and as empowered as White America has felt since day one when we all helped build this country. BIPOC deserve to have the same privileges and advantages white people have always had--we are all in this country as one and must all lift each other up. Whether you choose to march and protest, or use your platforms to share Black messages, or donate to a cause that will benefit Black Lives Matter, or have uncomfortable conversations with racist loved ones in their lives, we need you to LISTEN to our black leaders and SPEAK UP against the inequalities. Now is not the time for silence or pretending there isn't a problem with our systems of order. Now is the time to stand up for what is right, to help your fellow human being. I urge you to keep fighting in however you choose to fight so that we may all help change this country into the truly equal and free place it can be.
No Justice, No Peace.
So many incredible speeches were made this afternoon.
The #blacklivesmatter flag waving in front of the Texas State Capitol. Austin, TX.
These photos will speak for themselves. I will not say much on the matter in lieu of allowing Black America to speak up while we listen. There is a lot of turmoil happening in this country and it is long overdue for major positive change. The movement here in Austin has varied from immensely peaceful protests to incredibly shocking police violence against Austin citizens. Thankfully, this rally conducted by the Austin Justice Coalition was a powerful demonstration of peaceful human beings voicing their concerns, their pain, and the changes they want to occur.
Thank you AJC for hosting an exceptionally moving event. I was happy to be here and make these images as we all chanted, sweated, and listened together in the melting heat, all craving for an uplifting change. Awake & Moving stands in full support with #blacklivesmatter.
Chas Moore, founder of Austin Justice Coalition, speaks to a crowd of thousands.
We have a long way to go, and I am happy to be fighting for change.
During these trying and very uncertain times of a global problem, the most unique of its kind in my lifetime, I have been spending most of my time thinking, staying active with my pup, and creating. At quick glance, this is pretty standard for me. My time is usually divided up into these three activities with varying degrees of each. However, today my thoughts are much more anxious and uneasy than they've ever been. And so are my friends' thoughts. My colleagues'. And my family's. And probably yours, too. We are all experiencing something so incredibly new that virtually no one is prepared for yet everyone can't seem to stop discussing or worrying about across every platform, digital or otherwise.
I have found that meditation is so critical at times like this to maintain a level head and stay logical so that I can process and proceed through difficult times with logic, safety, and kindness towards others. I encourage meditation to so many people I encounter because daily meditation has proven to be extremely beneficial for myself in keeping my mind sharp and calm during moments of high stress. While people all over the world have their own ideas of what meditation is and isn't, it is my belief that there are many forms of meditation that each have their own outcomes and uses. While a guided mindfulness meditation works for me at the beginning of my day in clearing my brain of the morning fog and prepare myself for the hours ahead, I often find a different sense of remaining present and calm in other meditative activities such as archery, printmaking, gardening, or simply walking through nature.
Like most people around the world, I could use a Mute button for a few hours a day--especially now. The constant bombardment of information, misinformation, jokes, memes, pleas, and everything else attached to Covid-19, are enough to drive even the most enlightened mind into a scattered frenzy. So I wanted to offer you some images from a recent series I created for use as coloring pages for you, your children, your family, your friends, your neighbors, etc. We can all benefit from putting down the phone for a few hours, grabbing whatever colors or writing utensils we have handy, and unplugging onto a physical piece of paper. We are all so hooked on our phones in this era that if they leave our eyes and hands (or wrists for you Apple Watch users) for even a few minutes, we begin to feel antsy and uneasy, wondering what we are missing or who is looking for us, often reaching back for our phone without realizing it as we scroll mundanely through yet another slew of content surrounding this thing.
I am mentally exhausted and it's only been about two weeks of this being an immediate issue. I could use a fucking break. And I am sure you can too. So take these images, print them multiple times, and color the world however you see fit. Put the phone down and spread these images instead of another toilet paper meme or complaint or worry. Send your finished pieces my way via @awakeandmoving. You don't have to tag me in anything, just share them with your loved ones and pass the blank images along so that others can use them. These images are NOT for sale by any means to anyone, so if you see them reproduced for monetary gain other than through myself and Awake & Moving, please notify me asap.
These are for your mental peace. To bring you and your loved ones together, even if you are psychically apart. Have fun!
Jiu jitsu has become one of my favorite subjects to photograph. There's a beauty in the art of fighting that some people just cannot appreciate. I think a lot of people misunderstand fighting. While it may mean many different things for many different people, I love fighting for the technical aspect of putting yourself in a situation where the best person will emerge victorious. This is the venue where all of the hardwork, sacrifice, and determination are all put on the line in of the most vulnerable experiences you can put yourself through. While competing can certainly be satisfying for your ego when you win, losing can also teach you things about yourself. Invaluable lessons of understanding the self. Making jiu jitsu photos specifically brings me a sense of peace and bewilderment. To see and understand what these competitors are doing and knowing what it took to get there gives me such a huge appreciation for any fighter. I love watching the human body twist and contort and explode in the pursuit of dominance and defense. I am especially fond of watching smaller fighters take on the bigger ones (and Dorian does this EXTREMELY well). Where in the past it was once believed that the bigger fighter will always win, jiu jitsu is a direct expression of contradicting that idea--the most skilled will win, not just the bigger opponent. And at the end of the day regardless of who you are, everyone taps, everyone grows.
Jiu jitsu is art, it's science, it's love. You just have to see it and be open-minded to appreciate these parts of it.
Dorian was not letting up on this dude who was so much bigger than him.
Never a dull moment with Dorain on the mat.
An exhausted competitor falls into family after a tough match (Dark Clan Fight Lab).