Earth2Trump Travel Log, Part I
Follow the Earth2Trump Roadshow of Resistance tours as they roll from Oakland and Seattle toward Washington D.C.
This Earth2Trump: Cross-Country Roadshow of Resistance travel log, written by Steven T. Jones from the Central Tour and Brytnee Miller on the Southern Tour, will be updated regularly. It continues on this post.
DENVER, Jan. 12 — It was a fantastic show in Denver last night, maybe our best yet on the central tour. The momentum seems to be building, the energy rising, as we get closer to the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. Or maybe it was the fresh exposure everyone had to Trump during his ridiculous, maddening press conference that morning, layered on top of the Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions confirmation hearings, which showed how out-of-touch this administration is with the values and concerns of most Americans.
I could barely believe what I was hearing from the man who claims he will represent all people in this country. Trump and his surrogates used their first press conference in six months to berate and threaten journalists for doing their jobs in exposing his lies and evasions and asking for some measure of public accountability. Trump proved once again just how dangerous he is to this country and how important it is to unite against him — and the crowd in Denver responded enthusiastically, chanting “Stand up! Fight back!”
The upstairs of Denver’s beautiful Mercury Café was packed solid with people, about 300 total, erupting in applause, cheers and howls of outrage or agreement throughout the evening. “We know we’re going to have to fight like hell to protect our planet and our future from the Trump administration,” touring musician Dana Lyons said from the stage, filled with more passion than at any other point on the tour.
On the day when Trump announced that he won’t divest from his business empire or take a tough stance on Russian meddling in our elections, the Center’s Valerie Love told the crowd, “His business entanglements and ties to corporate America, deep ties, threaten a level of corruption that is shocking even within our flawed American democracy. And don’t forget his ties to Russia, which reflect a very dangerous relationship and tendency toward authoritarianism.”
As the grim reality of Trump’s reign creeps closer, it’s been heartening to be in room-after-room filled with fierce resistance fighters. I felt that strongly last night in Denver. But it was also a bittersweet show for me because I’m leaving the tour here in Denver to regroup and head back to headquarters, where I’ll continue to support the Earth2Trump tour from afar. My colleague Taylor McKinnon will pick up this travel log starting after tomorrow night’s rally in Omaha, so keep reading and supporting the resistance. (STJ)
HOUSTON, Jan. 11 — In an annex building to Solidarity Houston, a radical bookstore and collective of local organizations represented on banners that ringed the room, Texas Environmental Justice Advocate Service (TEJAS) youth organizer Yudith Nieto welcomed everyone to the ninth Earth2Trump event of this cross-country tour last night.
“We’re not just here to complain. We’re here to make a change and change our lifestyle. How do we join the movement? How are we standing in solidarity with impacted communities?” Nieto said, laying out the questions that set the tone for the rest of the event.
After a quick and lively presentation from the Center’s Leigh Moyer, a few local community members came up to the stage to read off their pledges. Shweta Malhotra, a gender non-conforming trans person of color, delivered an empowering pledge that hit home with the diverse crowd.
“I’m not worried about that asshole because I know we just need to get more radical. We do that by centering indigenous voices, by honoring all the work done tonight by black and brown people — especially the femmes,” Malhotra said.
This voice of respect and compassion rang even further with touring musician Lyla June, who referred to Trump as “crazy uncle Trump,” recognizing that harsh words and violence are not the sole solution. There is healing to be done and the need for solidarity to create the action to resist. Warriors don’t always need weapons.
“I know this is Texas, so I just want to say nobody is trying to take your guns away,” musicians Casey Neill joked as he and Lyla closed out the show with a song. But that wasn’t quite the end. An elder gave a closing prayer in Spanish that captivated the audience, while an Azteca dance group performed outside of the venue.
As everyone left, they had the chance to donate to different indigenous-led causes by purchasing albums and T-shirts, which gave the opportunity to discuss important local issues on an even more intimate level. A truly inspiring show in Houston, where we were reminded to say thanks, and honor the divine feminine to start the healing process during these chaotic times. (BM)
SALT LAKE CITY-DENVER, Jan. 9 — In case diligent readers of this “daily” travel log are wondering where the “Day 7” entry went, chalk it up to life on the road. Between train tracks alternately freezing and flooding, wifi signals coming and going, travel logistics sometimes going awry, and exhaustion triggered by trying schedules (like the eastbound train that arrives and departs from Salt Lake City around 3 a.m.), this trip ain’t easy.
But we are still so excited and energized to be on the Earth2Trump tour, all of us. And that’s mostly because of the fantastic energy and connections that are being generated at every event on this tour. Last night in Salt Lake City was no exception. Nearly 200 people turned out to Ember on a blustery Sunday night in red-state Utah — a testament to the enthusiasm to resist Trump and his administration.
Our local partners Science & Environmental Health Network and PANDOS (Peaceful Advocates for Native Dialogue and Organizing Support) brought a strong focus on the intersectionality of issues, from the bad air quality in the Salt Lake basin to the plight of marginalized groups in this conservative state. “So we at PANDOS are trying to support the Native American people and any particular groups being discriminated against or oppressed,” said PANDOS chair Carl Moore, naming women, the LGBTQ community, and Muslims among those oppressed groups.
Yet again, the takeaway message was one of hope, as lovely local singer Rhonda “Honey” DuVail — a half Navajo, half African-American Utahn — said during her set. “We’re all here together to help uplift each other,” Honey said before breaking into her song, “I’m feeling golden.” We’re also feeling golden as we await our late-night train to Denver. (STJ)
TUCSON-SILVER CITY-HOUSTON, Jan. 9 — As the event ended in Silver City, a woman excitedly explained how inspired she felt afterward, like she has the hope she needs to enact change in her own community. These sentiments have been a theme at all of the shows, but the last two in particular have been especially moving.
The venues in Tucson and Silver City, N.M., were both packed to the brim with people. Each space completely different from the other, Tucson was a large room with a big stage and murals that lined the outside; while Silver City’s venue was a small coffee shop that had to be rearranged because of all the eclectic furniture.
Each crowd had its unique charms too, helping to create the successful shows that the Earth2Trump tour has put on. In Tucson, there were so many people that the line wrapped throughout the parking lot and into the street. Frostpaw the polar bear greeted those waiting online. Musicians Lyla June and Casey Neill half-joked that they should get on top of the van and play a special show for those who couldn’t make it in.
Silver City proved a challenge logistically because it was a small space that needed a lot of rearranging, but it brought in more than 200 people — out of a community of just 10,000 people. Everyone took turns posing with their pledges of resistance for photographs. The sense of camaraderie from the small town was really inspiring.
The southern crew is back in the van and on our way to Houston for the fifth show. Between car naps, classic rock, and 400 miles to go — were all really stoked on getting to Houston for yet another amazing event. (BM)
RENO-SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 7 — Another Earth2Trump event, another capacity crowd hungry to resist the Trumpocalypse. Hundreds of people have packed each roadshow. With today’s event in Tucson drawing over 500 people — continuing a streak of massive turnouts at our first five events — the Earth2Trump resistance movement is becoming a major national story that will be tough to ignore.
Here, journalists were a little preoccupied with an approaching warm storm that’s expected to bring major flooding to Reno and surrounding communities tomorrow, a threat that has businesses near the Truckee River sandbagging their entrances. We’re slipping out of here on an eastbound train just in time, bound for tomorrow’s event in Salt Lake City.
The Earth2Trump program continues to inspire us and the crowds it draws. Our traveling musicians Dana Lyons and Makana have been killing it, both with their songs (like Dana extolling “children’s ancient right to green and blue”) and storytelling (Makana’s tale of singing his Occupy Wall Street anthem to a Hawaii gathering of President Obama and other world leaders was funny and riveting).
Yet it’s the local flavor that has been putting these events over the top. Last night, the local women’s hip hop duo MoMatik was awesome. And Stacey Shinn with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, buoyed by Democrats taking control of the Nevada Legislature on election night, offered a hopeful vision of how progressive politics can remain ascendant even under Trump.
“In our state, we can do proactive things,” Shinn said, laying out a model that California, Oregon, Washington and other states that decisively rejected Trump can follow. “We have an opportunity in Nevada to do some really great things.” (STJ)
LOS ANGELES-TUCSON, Jan. 6 — The Arizona desert air greeted us with open arms as we pulled into the hotel parking lot for a much-needed rest after the long drive from our big event in Los Angeles. We all took turns driving for what seemed like an eternity; some kind of Arizona time warp that caused the GPS to say “ETA 3 hours” for about three hours.
Morning brought the crew to the Center for Biological Diversity’s headquarters in Tucson, most of us for the first time. Everyone is bustling with excitement and anticipation. After the first three stops of the Earth2Trump tour reached capacity, with hundreds of people each, our colleagues here hustled up a bigger new venue for the event, at 191 Toole, and hopes are high for the biggest event yet.
We wandered around the neighborhood, where we found a cool vintage shop and several record stores with flyers in their windows plugging the exciting lineup of local musicians on tap for our rally tomorrow. One of the employees that we talked to went on and on about how excited she is that we have a stop in Tucson.
The hospitality here is amazing. The owner of that shop actually had us write out a make-shift flyer that she could hang up in the window display. A few hugs and “thank you’s” later, we headed back to the office to finish the day’s work of preparing for tomorrow! (BM)
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 5 — Shining like a beacon of light, the Sabores de Mexico food truck sat in front of the Global Beat Multi-Cultural Center welcoming the attendees to the Earth2Trump Roadshow of Resistance show in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, serving up all organic Mexican food. People were hungry, and not just for food.
Aliyah, a young songstress from LA, opened us up with two songs that showcased her incredible voice. After a few introductions, speakers, and some songs from Casey Neill, everybody got together to take a group photo before depositing their pledges into the globe. It is really powerful to watch waves of people from all different backgrounds come together, one after the other, putting these bright neon messages into the globe.
“I came here by myself, I saw someone in Portland post about the LA event, and I just moved here. I’ve already met so many people and made so many connections. I go to college for music, but protecting the Earth is important to me,” Steffan Salas, a college student at LA City College told me during a quick break between sets.
That’s what it’s all about, we all have to do this together. The crew is back in the van, and we’re on our way to Tucson for the next show and to pick up the rest of our crew. Rhiannon and Casey are chatting about music up in the front seats, navigating through the light drizzle and the always reliable LA traffic.
We say goodbye to another city, in anticipation to another packed out show with a whole new set of connections to be made. We figured there were more than 200 people at the event in LA — yet another amazing turnout. (BM)
PORTLAND-RENO, Jan. 5 — It was nice to have last night off after back-to-back shows in Seattle and Portland that were phenomenal successes — and even better to hear word from Los Angeles of another huge success there. But it was belated news for the Earth2Trump crew on the train from Portland to Sacramento, which lost its phone signal in the Oregon wilds just as the event was starting.
Doing a cross-country tour in winter carries its challenges, particularly with the cold storms that started blowing down from the Arctic yesterday. In the middle of the night, our train got stuck for more than three hours near Mt. Shasta when the track switches froze. We barely maybe made our connection to the Zephyr line in Sac, but we did catch it and now we’re headed over the Sierras to Reno.
My buddy Brian Burghart, former editor of the Reno News & Review, says the city is frozen solid right now, with ice on the roads making for difficult driving. But we’re all excited for the event in Reno tomorrow night, and happy to read a nice preview story in the RN&R. Onward! (STJ)
PORTLAND, Jan. 4 — Huge. That’s the Trump word that I keep coming back to when describing the reaction to our Earth2Trump resistance roadshow. It’s been huge! Several hundred people turned out for each of our launch events in Oakland and Seattle on Monday — and the reception was just as big and enthusiastic last night in Portland.
It was standing-room-only inside Ecotrust on a freezing Portland night. Local rapper Mic Crenshaw joined our touring musicians Dana Lyons and Makana and they each had the room rocking and enjoyed standing ovations. Everyone seemed to embody the call to action issued by 350 PDX’s Anais Tuepker: “Let’s be joyfully non-compliant together.”
People in Portland really relished the opportunity to write their personal pleas and pledges of resistance and place them in our traveling globe. Mexican immigrant Miguel Angel conveyed his hopeful message to the room: “We forget that Donald Trump is nothing when we work together.”
When I asked local resident Pamela Parrish to share her message in front of the crowd, she was moved to tears as she talked about how memories of her activist grandmother kept coming up for her all night. “I hope we can keep this up so my children will live in a beautiful state that’s protected,” she said, her voice choking up, later explaining to me that this was the first Tuesday night in years that her children were skipping their regular violin lessons because she thought it was so important that they come to experience the Earth2Trump Cross-country Roadshow of Resistance. (STJ)
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 4 — After a series of wrong turns and traffic, the southern team finally made it to Los Angeles. Who knew there were three hotels with the same name as the one we’re at? And after seven hours in a van following our raucous rally in Oakland, who’s really checking for details?
Rolling out of our mobile home and checking emails over dinner, we noticed just how much the hype has grown over Earth2Trump since our over-capacity Oakland show. Reports from our central tour comrades in Portland letting us know that they had a full house again, much like Oakland and Seattle, made us all smile.
Our resistance is growing, and the bridges are being built. Tonight we’re in the city of angels — a place close to my heart. And already people are voicing their excitement. Come out and be a part of the change, LA! (BM)
SEATTLE-PORTLAND, Jan. 3 — Wow, what an amazing launch to the Earth2Trump tour last night in Seattle! Our event and the one in Oakland exceeded expectations and injected this roadshow of resistance into the national consciousness, thanks to excellent coverage by journalists and widespread social media support.
Earth2Trump is officially a thing.
In Seattle we had a capacity crowd of more than 300 enthusiastic souls packed into Washington Hall, cheering statements of resistance from the Center’s Stephanie Feldstein and other speakers, singing along with Makana and Dana Lyons, and filling our globes with pledges of resistance and personal pleas that we’ll deliver to Washington, D.C.
“That’s what we’re here for tonight: To turn anger into action,” said Aneelah Afzali of MAPS-AMEN, a Muslim-American attorney from Seattle who decried the divisive politics of Donald Trump. The combination of local and national speakers and performers proved to be a great concept that people will appreciate throughout this 16-city tour.
Yet it was the everyday people who showed up to lend their support and voices to the mix that will really elevate this tour into the vast network on resistance that we’ll need to stop Trump from forcing his dangerous agenda on the country. We’ll amplify them and their messages on another thread, but I was most touched last night by Femi, Alexandra and Linda Browne — three generations of women who came to say simply: “We do not support Donald Trump.”
And now, here we are in Portland, ready and excited to do it again (STJ)
OAKLAND-LOS ANGELES, Jan. 3 — It was around 6:30 p.m. — just 30 minutes into the Earth2Trump launch event in Oakland — when the Omni Commons was so full of people that we had to start turning them away. An auditorium filled with 265 people, all depositing their neon pledges into the globe, and discussing what they hold sacred. “I feel empowered,” I overheard one woman say to her partner.
The last musical act, Brazilian funk band Namorados da Lua, had the whole crowd dancing — from little kids to elders. There can’t be a revolution without dancing, right? It was the perfect ending to a hopeful evening at out kick-off event, and a great sign of things to come on this tour.
“I was devastated to find out that Trump had won the presidential election because of his denial of climate change and his xenophobia agenda. As a first-generation immigrant, I fear how Trump might alter my life and those around me,” said Eva Lin, a South Francisco High School student and Alliance for Climate Education Action fellow. “ I’ll be spending the next four years of his presidency, resisting any unjust changes that his administration may bring to our communities and planet — inspiring all generations to act, for themselves and future generations like mine.”
The southern tour team is currently in the van — reading, driving, talking, writing, reaching out to partners and journalists to come — with David Bowie narrating the drive down the Interstate 5, an all too familiar way to LA. Watch out, SoCal, the Earth2Trump is on the way and ready for our next event tomorrow night. (BM)
The new year is off to a fast start for the Center for Biological Diversity’s team organizing the Earth2Trump tour, which is throwing big events tonight in both Seattle and Oakland to launch this cross-country roadshow of resistance.
SEATTLE, Jan. 2 — The first wave of Center of Biological Diversity staff touched down in Seattle at 9 this morning, and within hours we were already doing interviews with Seattle’s biggest television and radio stations about tonight’s event. Center Executive Director Kieran Sucking appeared on KIRO’s The Jason and Burns Show at 10 this morning and an hour later, I did an interview with KING-TV reporter Natalie Brand outside Washington Hall, the venue for tonight’s event.
“We are calling on anyone who cares about the environment, civil rights, reproductive rights to come together for a unified national political opposition to stop Donald Trump and extremist politicians from taking away the rights of American citizens,” Suckling said. He went on to warn about the dangers Trump poses to the climate and civil rights, but predicted that he’s far outside the political mainstream and will be a one-term president. “If we can hold the line for four years, we can severely limit the damage Trump will do.”
We’re expecting a big, enthusiastic crowd for tonight’s event, with a few hundred people already RSVPing to our online links. With the distractions of the holidays now behind us, people are beginning to focus on Trump and an administration packed with people hostile to wildlife, civil rights, climate action and some of the most important tenets of our democracy.
But we’re offering a way for people to join the resistance and fight back, and I think we’ll see a strong response to that opportunity. Then we climb aboard the Amtrak train first thing Tuesday morning for another event tomorrow night in Portland. Yes, boys and girls, the Earth2Trump roadshow of resistance is under way. (STJ)
OAKLAND, Jan. 2 — The office is surprisingly empty for a Monday morning. On any given day the clicking of heels can be heard back and forth down the hallways, fresh brewed coffee filling the air with caffeinated “good mornings.” Today, though, only the sounds of Casey Neill, the southern leg’s touring musician, mic-checking the PA system can be heard echoing throughout the office.
One of the Center’s organizers, Blake Kopcho, is frantically running boxes of the Center’s endangered species condoms across the room to make a new pile of materials-to-bring. Those boxes are piled up nicely along the white wall. Missing items are being calculated, and it looks like a trip to Guitar Center is in the near future.
Parked outside is our 20-foot rented van with the five-foot globe we painted resting comfortably in the backseat. Despite its size, the van drives relatively well, although Blake’s u-turn in front of the building almost resulted in the destruction of a bus-stop. Oops.
In the last few hours before we embark on this ambitious journey, we’re packing up and sharing a few laughs over Indian food and a bunch of newly purchased cables and guitar picks. The southern crew is uniting and looking forward to kicking off the roadshow of resistance tonight in Oakland, and we’re all anxious to finally get this show on the road. (BM)