The Nation Report: 2019 in Pictures

Editor note:  We spend a great deal of our efforts reporting from the streets on issues where people have used their voices elsewhere with little response.  These events follow the mission of The Nation Report.

The Nation Report was founded on the observation that few if any news outlets covered these issues.  

Today we often take hundreds of photos at a single event, but we chose these to highlight for their message in this end of year piece.

Click on photos to see an enlarged version:

December 20 – Homeless rights activist Janet Matzen shows just some of the injuries she received while being arrested in Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. She was attending the trial of a colleague who was charged during the September Extinction Rebellion School Strike for Climate actions. According to Matzen, during the trial’s jury selection,  Judge Andre Rudolph ordered all those belonging to a particular group out of the courtroom.  Matzen, who has never been arrested, alleges that Sheriff Deputy Bret Garegnani assaulted her during the arrest. In 2015, Garegnani was suspended for the in-custody homicide of Michael Marshall, but his suspension was overturned by a hearing officer. Despite calls by the community for charges against the deputy for that incident, as well as a firing, the deputy still remains employed.  Matzen has been preparing a community meal out of her own kitchen for those living on the street for over five years and has been instrumental in persuading area businesses to oppose Denver’s urban camping ban.

 

 

December 17 – Prior to a US House of Representatives vote whether to impeach President Donald Trump, rallies took place across the US in support of impeachment. This one took place in Denver and drew about 2000. Other rallies took place across the state including some of Colorado’s smaller towns.  Trump was impeached the next day.

 

December 10 – To The Nation Report staff, the offsite COP that take place concurrently with the annual UN Climate talks is far more interesting and productive. This event usually takes place at a local university and this year it was held at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. The event was titled “Cumbre Social por el Clima.”  Here, the many solutions and successes to the climate crisis are discussed within communities that often look to indigenous culture that is known to have long had answers to living in harmony with the earth.

 

December 9 – Hundreds of thousands turned out on the streets of Madrid to continue the fight against the climate crisis at COP 25 UN Climate Summit.  Standing out most was the fact that those leading the march stepped off chanting, “NO HUMAN BEING IS ILLEGAL!” thus confirming the joining of movements and solidarity between them.

 

December 5 – Organizers of this event called for international media while The Nation Report was the only news organization on location.  Here survivors of the Francisco Franco regime in Spain are working to preserve the memory of their relatives or to educate about their own repression.  The group meets every Thursday in the Plaza del Sol to hold the recently elected, corporate supported Madrid city council accountable for ordering the removal of memorial plaques that bore the names of victims.

 

December 3 – The Nation Report was on location at COP 25 in Madrid. These activists held an action at the gates to raise awareness about the connection between animal agriculture and the climate crisis.  In addition the group addressed the animal cruelty involved in the meat industry. The organization also served complimentary vegan food inside the conference to anyone who wished to partake.

 

November 27 – One of two gondolas in Caracas, Venezuela. Each pod is named after an element of socialism. This pod was named Equidad, Equity. The government had planned to build five gondolas in Caracas, but only two have been finished and are in operation. Because of the illegal and unilateral sanctions imposed by the US, Venezuela cannot import the parts to complete the project. These gondolas are free to the public and are used by the poor who live in the hills surrounding the city. Without the gondolas as transportation, it would take residents of these neighborhoods all day to walk down to buy groceries or go to the bank and then back home again.

 

November 8 – In a case that has lasted over 10 years, the residents of Lote 8, El Estor in Guatemala are still seeking justice for the 2007 raid and destruction of their village. In that raid, most women were raped and beaten while their husbands were away in the fields causing multiple miscarriages of pregnant women whose homes were burned to the ground. In prior hearings survivors identified the attackers as police and guards of Hudbay Minerals of Canada. This is Angelica Choc whose husband was killed in the raid. She attended one of a string of hearings in Toronto, Canada where the case was moved.  She said she will never stop fighting.

 

November 8 – In Toronto these protesters called for the arrest of US citizen Jawar Mohammed for crimes against humanity.  A similar action was held in Aurora, Colorado weeks later where Mohammed delivered a speech in person.  Ethiopians and Ethiopian Americans say that Mohammed is a terrorist whose speech has led to divisions in Ethiopia.  Protesters say these divisions are responsible for violence against the Muslim community including people being burned alive or beheaded.

 

October 13 – On the Pearl Street Mall of Boulder, a protest and march were held to demand action be taken to curb police violence in Boulder. The group issued a demand that officers who have a complaint against them not be hired in Boulder.  Protesters also called for the firing of Officer Waylon Lolotai who was hired by Boulder after he left the Denver Sheriff’s Department under investigation for two excessive force complaints. The group also called for District Attorney Michael Dougherty to investigate.

 

September 27 – As part of the School Strike for Climate actions, a protest took place outside of Chase Bank in Boulder. Here 350.org Colorado and other organizations called on Chase and its CEO Jamie Dimon (as caricatured in photo)  to stop funding fossil fuel investments and to start funding renewable energy projects.

 

September 20 – As part of the School Strike for Climate actions in the San Francisco Bay Area, climate marchers demand action on a Green New Deal at the office of Senator Diane Feinstein. They also targeted Amazon offices for its collaboration with ICE shouting “Climate Justice is Migrant Justice! Migrant Justice is Climate Justice!”

 

September 23 – As part of a week of actions supporting the global School Strike actions, Extinction Rebellion staged takeovers of Denver intersections during morning and evening rush hours.  Several arrests were made, but we witnessed the arrest of a journalist who was taken into custody while crossing the street legally with the “WALK” sign. Trials for those who are challenging their arrests are beginning in December and are scheduled at least through February.

 

September 20 – School Strike for the Climate actions took place globally, and in Colorado rallies took place at the University of Colorado, the corner of 28th and Pearl in Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley, and Longmont to name a few.

 

September 13 – Harvest moon

 

September 9 – In Denver presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told a crowd of about 4000, “We need to undo the damage that Trump has caused this country.  I ask you to work with me to help transform this country and create an economy and a government that works for all of us.  Today we say to the pharmaceutical industry, we’re tired of your greed, your corruption, your price fixing. We are tired of the fossil fuel industry putting their short term profits ahead of safety and health of the entire planet.” The crowd chanted, “Green New Deal, Green New Deal!”  He also said, “We need to get a racist, pathological liar out of the White House.”

September 6 – University of Colorado students who took over Building TB1 on campus in 1974 returned in 2019 to the steps of the very building they took over. In 1974 students and supporters called for the firing of the Educational Opportunity Program director, for better educational opportunities, and for their financial aid packages to be released. The financial aid delays led to the dropping out of several students who were forced to live in their cars during the semester. In May of 1974 the students occupied the building for about a month receiving some of their demands.  Toward the end of the occupation, six of their fellow classmates and friends were killed in two separate car bombing incidents.  The six became known as Los Seis de Boulder and were memorialized with a monument that was placed outside of TB1 during this ceremony.

 

August 25 – In the 1980’s a Chicano community gathering was repressed by Denver police. In 2019 Denver City Council sanctioned the event by passing Proclamation 838 – Celebrating La Raza and Barnum Park Day- endorsing it. On August 25, many who were at the 1988 event returned to celebrate the original gathering and the advancements that have been made to recognize the community. In this photo, restored autos cruised Federal Boulevard with support of the council, four of whom participated in the event.  Cruising is still illegal in Longmont and Arvada.

 

August 24 – The grandson of Boulder and Fort Lupton activist Ricardo Falcon attends the annual commemoration march to the grave of his grandfather. Ricardo Falcon worked for the rights of students, farm workers, union members, and worked for more diversity in the political system.  The elder Falcon was murdered in 1972 on his way to a La Raza Unida political convention by a known white supremacist who was acquitted of the shooting.  This is a sparsely covered story, so we at The Nation Report make a firm attempt to keep the issue of repression against Chicano activism a part of our reporting.

 

July 20 – Peace organization Voices for Creative Nonviolence staged a takeover of the Chicago River. Here kayaks, boats, and banner drops held signs that read, “Free Gaza” and “Free Palestine.”

 

June 6 – At the annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award ceremony in Washington DC, farm worker organizations held up the traditional symbol that was adopted in the early years of the farm worker movement decades ago.  Robert F. Kennedy was an ardent supporter of farm worker rights and his children have continued the legacy.  Kennedy’s children Kerry and Kathleen oversaw the event.

 

May 3 – The first time we met Karima Al-Amin was at Bloody Sunday Selma in honor of the 50th anniversary in 2015. Since 2000 she has been working for the exoneration of her husband Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown).  A former leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Al-Amin was convicted in 2002 for the murder of two sheriffs.  He has always maintained his innocence.  Here the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta heard arguments whether to grant a new trial.

 

April 25 – This photo marks the early days of the takeover of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC by a group calling themselves Embassy Protection Collective. Under the authority of the Venezuelan government (who provided keys to the group) the protectors occupied the embassy until May 16 when DC police raided the building. Occupiers cited Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations which requires signers to protect other embassies on their own soil. The four arrested face trial in January 2020, and the larger issue of international law will be raised during litigation. The Nation Report reported from inside the embassy from April 24-27 when a possible raid was rumored.

 

March 18 – Boulder City Council held a special session to hear from an enraged public about the March 1 police confrontation of university student Zayd Atkinson who was picking up trash outside of his residence. Boulder police officer John Smyly and other responding officers drew either guns or tasers while threatening Atkinson. Here one of his fellow students spoke to city council members and then turned to hug Atkinson while saying, “I’m glad you’re still here.”

 

March 5 – A landmark bill to regulate the oil and gas industry to protect public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife resources was first heard in the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy in the Colorado Legislature. Testimony was taken on Senate Bill 181 until 2:00 am and mostly in favor of the measure. The bill passed out of the legislature and Governor Jared Polis signed the bill into law on April 16.

 

February 22 – Oakland teachers strike and march to the Go Public School offices to demand a stop to the privatization of education.

 

February 12 – Denver teachers and supporters rally outside of negotiations for improved working conditions and a livable wage. An agreement was reached on February 12.

 

January 28 – Area legislative town halls were met by chants of “Ban Fracking, Ban Fracking!” This town hall in Longmont was hosted by Colorado State Senator Mike Foote, and State Representatives Sonya Jacquez Lewis and Jonathan Singer.  All voted for increased regulations on fracking and bills to improve air quality during the 2019 session.

 

January 23 – In 2019 the Colorado Legislature approved participation in the National Popular Vote Compact. Colorado is one of 24 states that have joined the compact.  If enough states pass the initiative to equal 76 more electoral votes (for a total of 270 to pass) then the National Popular Vote will take effect, giving a win to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes over electoral votes.  Here Michael Bellmont of Longmont testifies in favor of National Popular Vote stating that the status quo gives him no voice.  Colorado voters will decide in November’s election whether to overturn the decision of legislators, the law that has been challenged by a well-funded opposition.

 

January 10 – Activists from Witness Against Torture and nationwide peace organizations hold an annual action on Capitol Hill in Washington DC to call for the closing of Guantanamo Bay Prison. The groups raise awareness of the continued torture that happens and that some who are incarcerated there have not been charged with a crime.

 

January 10 – Sit in at the Washington DC office of Senator Mitch McConnell ends in four arrests of Witness Against Torture peace activists who said they would not leave without meeting with the Senator.  They called for an end to the war on Yemen, to close Guantanamo, for the US to cease drone strikes, and to end weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

 

January 9 – Scene outside the White House following President Donald Trump’s announcement of a crisis at the southern border.  Nationwide demonstrators called the announcement a “fake crisis” and for no shutdown of the government. Activists held daily vigil for 161 days at this point.  Their contact inside the White House said that demonstrators could be heard from inside.

 

January 4 – Boulder activist Jacqui Goeldner shows up to many events that we’ve covered. Here she rallies outside of the Colorado capitol on the first day of the legislative session to remind legislators of their campaigns to clean up the environment and against fracking.

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