It would be an injustice to the many high-schoolers, performers, and political figures to speak to the issue of gun violence in our country in place of their own amazing spoken word speeches and impassioned commentary today. I implore you to watch highlights from across the country, including the amazing moments from Seattle's #MarchForOurLives.
Too often we get caught up in extremely negative circulation of news media and social media comments, and we need to get out and turn that passion into something active. I remember lighting candles with hundreds of my peers after Pulse Nightclub. I remember the pussyhats at the Women's March and many other demonstrations here in Seattle. Rather than simply march today, I chose to bring my camera and document what I saw.
To me, being a 26-year-old politically-engaged photographer in one of the most progressive and engaged cities in America is something I take for granted. I look forward to challenging myself by combining my passions to document the historic moments happening around me.
Seeing these engaged youth has inspired me all over again. It feels nice to have hope for the future of our country and world. One woman near me in the crowd, in speaking to one of the speakers, said, "I grew up protesting the war in the 60s. And here I am. It sticks with you."
Between tears and chanting, I felt energized, fired-up again over the issue of gun violence. The feeling of community and like-minded activists is something I want us all to carry through to the midterms this year, 2020, and beyond. We cannot forget how we feel in these moments.
I hope you enjoy the signage that is creative and quite pointed in nature. I hope you can feel the energy of the performers including Seattle's own Gypsy Temple, Brandi Carlile, and Dave Matthews. I hope you can feel the vastness of the crowd, the hands in the air, the marching feet. I hope you are inspired to register to vote, contact your representatives, participate in primaries, and otherwise contribute to making the world a more beautiful place.
Here are my favorite images from today.
A Seattleite herself, Brandi Carlile performed renditions of her own songs and also a cover of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A Changin'," after speaking directly to the youth in the crowd. She told us about how her second child had just been born, and she conveyed optimism for this inspired, powerful youth to take care of her when she's old (she said it) and teach, legislate, etc when her daughter is older.
Dave surprised everyone as Brandi's guest after he joined her in the march. He performed "Mercy," which was part of his set when I last saw him as part of the Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees at Seattle's Moore Theater. The song's message is applicable to many of the issues facing our world today, and thus spoke volumes to the cause of this march.
After losing his uncle and sister to gun violence, Dave has a personal connection to the issue in addition to being a regular activist of various causes.
Now we Fight For Our Lives
Vote, sign the petition, share your story, and learn more about the movement at https://marchforourlives.com/.
Dylan is a Seattle-based portrait photographer passionate about social justice, the male form, and finding the right time each day to switch from iced coffee to whiskey. He's on Instagram @dylanmaustin.