Aerospace Day

Aerospace Day

 

Nothing like hanging out with a bunch of smart people who are passionate about what they do. I always enjoy shooting Aerospace Day for the Colorado Space Business Roundtable. And it’s tough to beat the Colorado State Capital for a backdrop.

Shooting events like this is always heartening for me. As much as I am concerned by the polarization of our political discourse, I am always struck by the intelligence and compassion of most of the politicians I interact with at these events. I mostly see smart, dedicated people who could be making more money in the private sector but choose to serve. I know it’s an American pastime to bitch about politicians, and I know our system has it’s flaws, but cliched complaining just seems like a lazy response in a democracy.

 

Colorado State Capitol.

Colorado State Capitol.

An incredible venue for Space Day. I'm continually impressed with how accessible our state representatives and senators are.

An incredible venue for Aerospace Day.

The gold dome.

The gold dome.

A lighter moment while waiting in the senate chambers for the recognition of Space Day in Colorado.

A lighter moment while waiting in the senate chambers for the recognition of Space Day in Colorado.

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Watching the Colorado State House pass the resolution making March 20th Aerospace Day in Colorado.

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Rep Paul Rosenthal introducing the resolution to make March 20th Aerospace Day in Colorado.

Space Day dignitaries being recognized in the House.

Aerospace Day dignitaries being recognized in the House.

Public servant, army colonel, and all-around awesome human being Joe Rice being recognized and applauded by his former colleagues in the House. Whenever I think of people who work to make this country hold to it's promise of being a beacon for world, it's people like Joe who come to mind. He's my definition of a true patriot.

Public servant, army colonel, former mayor and CO representative, and all-around awesome human being Joe Rice being recognized and applauded by his former colleagues in the CO House of Representatives. Whenever I think of people who work to make this country hold to its promise of being a beacon for world,  Joe always always comes to mind. He’s my definition of a true patriot.

Nothing to do with Space Day, but this image struck me.

Nothing to do with Aerospace Day, but this image struck me.

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Abby Benson and Daudi Barnes, CSBR Board members.

The fist bump/high five gone awry...

The fist bump/high five thing gone awry…

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CSBR Secretary Alires Almon sharing a laugh.

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Go Buffs!

Go Buffs!

General facilitating the..

Major General (retired) Jay Lindell facilitating the Aerospace Caucus.

Lt Governor Donna Lynne speaking at Space Day.

Lt Governor Donna Lynne speaking at Aerospace Day.

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Posted in Humanitarian

Native Nations March on Denver

Native Nations March on Denver

 

I would encourage anyone offended by seeing the flag flown upside down in some of these photos to do a little research about the water protectors at Standing Rock.  My experience up at Standing Rock was seeing a community committed to prayer and peaceful change. I didn’t see any paid protestors.  No professional agitators.  Just people fighting for their tribal rights and for our planet. I’m still in awe that, despite the repeated assaults by the police of Morton County, the protectors at Standing Rock remained peaceful. I’m not sure I would have been able to do the same. They’re my heroes.

 

Want to know what gives me hope for this planet? When a sixteen-year-old is mc'ing and helping to organize events like in our community.

Want to know what gives me hope for this planet? When a sixteen-year-old is MC’ing and helping to organize events like this in our community.

The start of the Native Nations Rising March in Denver.

The start of the Native Nations Rising March in Denver.

On the way to the Colorado State Capitol.

On the way to the Colorado State Capitol.

"This is what democracy looks like!"

“This is what democracy looks like!”

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Walking up the steps to the Colorado State Capitol.

Walking up the steps to the Colorado State Capitol.

After the militarized and brutal assault on the water protectors at Standing Rock and our recent ban on Muslims entering the country, this veteran is just fine with our flag flying upside down. We are in distress. And not in the way the faux patriots thought we were under Obama.

After the militarized and brutal assault on the water protectors at Standing Rock and our recent ban on Muslims entering the country, this veteran is just fine with our flag flying upside down. We are in distress.

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Not a paid protestor in sight. Also not an elected official sight.

Not a paid protestor in sight.  Just people who care about human rights and the environment.

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This.

This.

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Posted in Humanitarian

A Day Without Women

A Day Without Women

 

Having shot the Trump rally at the same location a few days before this march, it’s hard not to compare the two events. I’ll own my inherent bias on comparing the two because I am very much aligned with the beliefs espoused by Wednesday’s marchers while I find many of the views of the Trump camp repugnant. But I think a completely unbiased viewer would share the observation that the A Day Without Women march was a much happier, more positive vibe. I saw a lot more smiles. And a lot less angry signs.  And I saw a lot more diversity. It also gives me hope seeing so many young people there. (The people bitching about the younger generations, I’m not with you. The young people amaze me and inspire me.)

 

This.

This.

The silent march begins around the Colorado State Capital.

The silent march begins around the Colorado State Capital.

Mad respect for women who have been fighting the fight for so long.

Mad respect for women who have been fighting the fight for so long.

The sense of determination was palpable.

The sense of determination was palpable.

The marchers encircled the Capital.

The marchers encircled the Capital.

Please call Senator Gardner and urge him to have a town hall. You know, those things he said he would always hold and was a huge proponent of when he ran for office.

Please call Senator Gardner and urge him to have a town hall. You know, those things he said he would always hold and was a huge proponent of when he ran for office.

A noticeable difference to me, as a veteran, was the marchers here didn't deface the US flag. At the Trump rally the flag they displayed had Trump's face emblazoned on it. Read that flag code faux patriots.

A noticeable difference from the Trump rally to me, as a veteran, was the marchers here didn’t deface the US flag. At the Trump rally the flag they displayed had Trump’s face emblazoned on it. Read that flag code faux patriots.

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Nothing more patriotic than equal rights.

Nothing more patriotic than equal rights.

This is just about the most adorable eight month old! Her mom is pretty cool, too : )

This is just about the most adorable eight month old! Her mom is pretty cool, too : )

My fav sign.

My fav sign.

We chatted for a minute and this lady said, based on her unofficial poll, that Trump is losing support. Her poll being that the people flipping her off and throwing stuff at her steadily gone down since the election.

This lady has been holding this sign at different events since the inauguration.  We chatted for a minute and she said, based on her unofficial poll, that Trump is steadily losing support. Her poll being that the people flipping her off and throwing stuff at her has steadily gone down since the election.

I loved the palpable sense of power and determination I witnessed.

I loved the palpable sense of power and determination I witnessed.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Humanitarian

Trump Rally

Trump Rally

 

I photographed the Trump rally in Denver on Saturday. I’ve struggled with how to describe my experience. I literally couldn’t will myself to take any photos for the first ten minutes I was there. The crowd looked nothing like the America I know. The speakers railed against immigrants and refugees and the press and liberals. And according to at least one speaker, liberals includes John McCain and CO Rep Mike Coffman. (There’s evidently still hope for CO Sen Cory Gardner but that’s not a certainty.)

It was clear from the minute I arrived that I was in a fact free environment. The speaker was talking about Obama conspiring to overthrow Trump. Trump’s accusation that Obama had wiretapped Trump during the campaign is proof of this conspiracy. Never mind that Trump cited no evidence when he made his accusation and that even the Republican FBI director has called on the Justice Department to refute Trump’s claim. None of this matters at the rally. The crowd cheers at the speaker’s rhetoric.

As I walked around trying to make photos, I was thinking about one of my favorite teachers from grad school. Arnie Langberg once told me that he’d only met one person in his life that he couldn’t find at least one thing he had something in common with them. His point being we almost always have some way to connect, even with people with whom we vehemently disagree. This seemed like a good place to practice Arnie’s philosophy. As I was walking through the crowd, one of the speakers mentioned the need to change the Colorado condo defects law. I saw a lady near me cheer wildly for that, so looking for any common ground I could find, I smiled at her and said “I’m a liberal and I support that.” She said, “You’re a liberal?” like I wasn’t what she thought a liberal looked like, or maybe she was just surprised a liberal was at a Trump rally. We chatted for a minute about the flawed condo defects law and we both left the conversation smiling.  We both also probably had the same thought of “this person isn’t completely delusional.”

I want to be hopeful. I really do. And I don’t believe every Trump supporter is a racist or a misogynist. It evidently wasn’t a deal breaker for them that Trump is both these things, though. I keep seeing posts and hearing friends say it’s important to understand where they’re coming from, how they got to this point where they see Trump as the answer. I’m not there. I may not get there. If you are, rock on. Rather, my energy and my photography will be focused on those people who are most likely to be negatively impacted by Trump’s hateful policies and rhetoric. If you’re a refugee, a Muslim, an immigrant, LGBT, I’m your ally.

My take away from the rally was that if you’re thinking the avalanche of insanity coming from Trump will eventually influence his supporters to abandon him, my bet is you’re wrong. When I read his tweets, I see a narcissist that cares only for himself. His supporters see their savior being attacked by the system. And based on the rhetoric at this rally, that position is hardening.

I left most impressed by one group I saw that morning. The Denver police and Colorado State Patrol officers. I saw repeated instances where they could have arrested the anarchists who were there counter-protesting. Cops are human beings and I admire the restraint they showed today in response to the idiocy coming from several of the anarchists. I thanked every police officer I encountered. I know I’m a middle class white guy and my opportunities to be on the receiving end of police brutality are more limited. But I’ve had a friend who was on the receiving end of an assault by a Denver police officer. I’ve seen the assaults committed by law enforcement at Standing Rock. And I have another friend whose son, a student at Yale, is profiled and harassed on a routine basis for the crime of being Black. So I know it exists beyond what I read in the media. But I also know what I have seen repeatedly at events that I’ve photographed in Denver. And that is the great majority of police officers behaving professionally.

 

I’m not sure how we find common ground, but I do know that the Trump supporters screaming at the anarchists and the anarchists screaming at the Trump supporters and the anarchists screaming at the police is not going to get us anywhere.

 

I'm guessing 300 or so folks turned out.

I’m guessing 300 or so folks turned out.

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Talked motorcycles with this dude for a bit.

Talked motorcycles with this dude for a bit.

Nice lady. But as someone who loves international travel, it saddens me to see this idiotic "Only America First" hatred.

Nice lady. But as someone who loves international travel, it saddens me to see this country turning away from the rest of the world.

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I have not missed Tom Tancredo being a force in Colorado politics. My guess is he’s a sad he missed being in the political arena for this batshit crazy moment in history. As despicable and hypocritical (he was railing against undocumented workers while his basement was being remodeled by…yup, undocumented workers) as I think Tancredo is, he was full bore lunatic Saturday morning. After railing against the “liberals” in the GOP - McCain, Mike Coffman, and even that Cory Gardner isn’t perfectly towing the trump party line….he ended with “So far we’re a bloodless revolution.” Wow.

I have not missed Tom Tancredo being a force in Colorado politics. My guess is he’s sad he missed being in the political arena for this batshit crazy moment in history. As despicable and hypocritical (he was railing against undocumented workers while his basement was being remodeled by…yup, undocumented workers) as I think Tancredo is, he was full bore lunatic Saturday morning. After railing against the “liberals” in the GOP – McCain, Mike Coffman, and even that Cory Gardner isn’t perfectly towing the trump party line….he ended with “So far we’re a bloodless revolution.” Wow.

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These guys were arguing with each other. Turns out they are actually on the same side. I guess the yelling made realizing that take a bit longer.

These guys were arguing with each other. Turns out they are actually on the same side. I guess the yelling made realizing that take a bit longer.

What they said : )

What they said : )

“They do this all the time to me.” explaining that protestors have taken his small US flag and burned it in front of him. His role in the melodrama that is often present at protests is evidently as “the man who has his flag burned”. He seemed to revel in it.

“They do this all the time to me.” explaining that protestors have taken his small US flag and burned it in front of him. His role in the melodrama that is often present at protests is evidently as “the man who has his flag burned”. He seemed to revel in it.

Exactly.

Exactly.

Clinton's labeling all Trump supporters as deplorables was childish. It's what I expect from Trump.

Clinton’s labeling all Trump supporters as deplorables was hateful.  And counterproductive.

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This.

I made it a point to thank this Unicorn Riot journalist. I watched as a group of Trump supporters yelled at her by name and said they were watching her. I walked up to her and said I appreciated her and Unicorn Riot for providing accurate and consistent coverage of the events at Standing Rock despite being targeted and harassed by Morton County law enforcement. (The militarized police response and intimidation of journalists at Standing Rock is indefensible and some of those officers should be indicted for assault.) She said she was a bit rattled by the intimidation directed at her, and she thanked me for being a friendly face.

I made it a point to thank this Unicorn Riot journalist. I watched as a group of Trump supporters yelled at her by name and said they were watching her. I walked up to her and said I appreciated her and Unicorn Riot for providing accurate and consistent coverage of the events at Standing Rock despite being targeted and harassed by Morton County law enforcement. (The militarized police response and intimidation of journalists at Standing Rock is indefensible and some of those officers should be indicted for assault.) She said she was a bit rattled by the intimidation directed at her, and she thanked me for being a friendly face.

 

Posted in Humanitarian