Indigenous Day of Remembrance

IDOR 2018-1IDOR 2018-2IDOR 2018-3IDOR 2018-4IDOR 2018-5IDOR 2018-6IDOR 2018-7IDOR 2018-8IDOR 2018-9IDOR 2018-10IDOR 2018-11IDOR 2018-12IDOR 2018-13IDOR 2018-14IDOR 2018-17IDOR 2018-18IDOR 2018-19IDOR 2018-20I was honored to attend the Indigenous Day of Remembrance at Columbus Circle yesterday for the second time.  This peaceful gathering is a memorial service in honor of the ancestors and heritage of indigenous people.  Respects were paid through dance, song, stories, and an offering of sage and tobacco.  Although it is neither a protest nor a political event, it was difficult to ignore the NYPD gated and guarded statue of Christopher Columbus and Trump Tower both across the street.

With much reflection, I have come to learn that my camera serves many purposes in my life.  For me, it is as much a tool for connection and comprehension, as is it is for expression.   I was led to this event through an interest in the culture and heritage of my students, the majority of whom have roots in Dominican Republic and Ecuador.   As a child, the “discovery” story did not make sense.  As a teacher of students with indigenous heritage, I feel a responsibility to pay my respects to their ancestors and learn more.   One story that I will carry with me was read by Maritza Feliciano Potter and her daughter, Charity yesterday.  Encounter by Jane Yolen tells the story of the first encounter between Christopher Columbus and the Taino people in 1492 from the perspective of a young boy.  Hearing it highlighted powerfully how one-sided history can be.  As I’ve learned from my camera, one perspective rarely (if ever) tells the whole story.

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NYC Prayer March in Support of Standing Rock



Union Square



Times Square



Columbus Circle


The base of the statue of Columbus in the circle reads:  “To the world, he gave a world.”

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Indigenous Day of Remembrance


Yesterday I attended the Indigenous Day of Remembrance memorial at Columbus Circle.  I was invited to attend to photograph the event by one of the organizers, Luis Sanakori Ramos.  The event organizers stressed that this was no celebration.  It was a memorial to commemorate the destruction initiated by the arrival of Columbus in America. I was honored to pay my respects and spend time with some wonderful people from indigenous nations of the Caribbean, North America, Central America and South America.  Among the ceremonies were those that honored water and women.  The day was beautifully ended with a dance to Red Balloon by Charity.  This amazing 3rd grader choreographed a dance she said was inspired by her Taino heritage to a song that reminded her of freedom.   In the middle of Columbus Circle with Trump International Hotel and Tower in the background, the past and present were undeniably close.  Her spirit and dance infused me with hope, but also a renewed sense of responsibility as an educator and to communication as a human right.

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Black Lives Matter Rally for Justice

I attended the Black Lives Matter Rally for Justice in Nyack last night, when I heard calls for justice from my apartment. Here are some photos from tonight’s peaceful protest. I spoke with an organizer following the event, and asked about the movement’s work for justice beyond issues with the police (e.g., education and healthcare). She shared that they work to address issues raised by individual communities, for example education related issues in East Ramapo and waterfront issues in Newburgh.  Note: These photos are presented in chronological order.  Nothing has been added or removed.

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High Bridge Festival and Spiderman Ergs

This past Saturday New York City Parks hosted High Bridge Festival.  The festival celebrated the historic reopening of New York City’s oldest standing bridge.  Harlem River Community Rowing hosted an erg demonstration for this all around great event, so I got to spend some time watching future rowers take their first spin on the erg.  Our youngest visitor was three.  He stood in awe for what must have been an eternity for a three-year old.  He looked away only to call, “¡Mira!” to his mother.  He lit up, when it was finally his turn.   It was amazing!  It was really inspiring to watch children and adults take their first turn on the erg and to talk with former collegiate rowers who were ready to return to the sport.   The little guy in the last photo did refuse to try though…on the grounds that we didn’t have a Spiderman erg.  I told him rowing would make him stronger than a super hero.  He didn’t buy it.  _KER6453 _KER6468 _KER6492 _KER6514 _KER6533 _KER6551 _KER6582

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Riverkeeper Sweep at North Cove

Here are some shots from Riverkeeper Sweep at North Cove in Inwood yesterday.   This is my third time shooting a clean-up at North Cove, and I am inspired every time.   The event was a true collaboration by Riverkeeper, Conservancy North, Manhattan Wetlands and Wildlife and MTA Ninth Avenue Unit Shop.  Beyond agencies and organizations, it was about people.  People from Inwood and beyond showed up to clean, BBQ, play music, listen to music, dance, check out classic cars, and even play tag – all in support of North Cove.  While much was accomplished, there is much work to be done to protect North Cove and all of our waterways.  Only time will tell the impact this weekend’s Indian Point oil spill will have on the Hudson River…

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Roger Meyer of Conservancy North battles an underground tire.

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Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez showed his commitment by joining the volunteer clean-up crew.

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Jim Cataldi and Councilman Rodríguez discuss environmental issues, while the kids explore. Jim “Birdman” Cataldi started it all through his individual efforts to clean out North Cove. Check out for more information.

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More captions to come…when I can figure out why they are changing the order of the photos.   After midnight brain just can’t.

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People’s Climate March

Some photos from today’s peaceful and inspiring People’s Climate March in NYC. I’m so happy to have been a part of it, though my midway Starbuck’s break (complete with a disposable cup) was a sobering reminder that marching today is just not enough.  I have some changes to make.

People's Climate March

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