Governor Jay Inslee has changed his mind and says he is now opposed to the Liquefied Natural Gas Plant in Tacoma, WA. My first impression regarding his change of mind was cynicism. Activists have been fighting for years to protect not only the potential danger to our community from a leak in the storage facility or a derailed train, but those communities in which toxic fracking operations already poison and deplete the water supply. In fact, here is a podcast I produced in 2016 with some of the activists that first brought the dangers of the Tacoma LNG project specifically to the public’s attention. [This was after our community’s successful battle against the proposed Methanol plant.] But this is a huge fight, and we need all the allies we can get: late to the battlefield or not.
We need to pay attention to the science and keep fighting for sound environmental policies. Climate change is real, man-made, and threatens the safety of our current and future generations. The disproportionate impact of climate change on low-income communities and communities of color necessitates that anyone interested in protecting human rights also pay attention to environmental protections.
Use your skills to contribute to this fight: Do your research with credible resources. Question funding sources for studies. Continue to hold elected officials and candidates accountable on these issues. Use the PDC to track campaign contributions. Write letters. Call representatives. Organize rallies. Make posters. Share information via social media. And parents/ educators, teach your kids why activism is so important. Change is possible and imperative.
Now that The Grand Cinema’s 253 Film Screening has happened, I can share some of the work I did in 24 hours (with a 8-hour break for sleep in there).
When I met with Derek Schneider, Candace Schneider, and Caleb Fisher for the first time, I had recently finished working on a presentation regarding immigrant and refugee stories in Tacoma, WA. Much of my other published written work has been on social justice and political issues. I have spent years doing uncredited written material for educational and non-profit institutions, as well as confidential reports for vocational rehabilitation cases. Derek brought forward the concern that he typically produced comedies.
After focusing on such serious material for a long time, I made it clear I was ready for a fun project, and so…
I wrote a script that can be summed up as a feminist poop joke meets Japanese monster movies. And then I scrambled to prepare the costumes and props in time for the shoot.
It’s not completely without redeeming qualities. As a migraine sufferer, I hope this project will draw attention to some people’s reliance on chemical air fresheners in the work place. But let’s be honest: in 72 hours, it’s pretty darn hard to create a 253 second film that meets a competition’s required elements (includes dialogue “back to square one,” references fake news, has a white dress, and includes a scene from a well-known movie) AND serves society beyond entertainment value.
I’m looking forward to my slightly more serious next project, this time as writer/ director/ and probably producer. If you’re interested in working on a feminist dark comedy series for the web, hit me up. I’ll need editors, sound, actors, funding. Camera operators would be great, too. More information to come.
[All photos and text by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved. 2019.]
The last few weeks have been jam-packed with projects, and I feel like I’m just now able to catch my breath.
On April 19, I presented my research project, “Immigration and Tacoma: Past and Present,” at Tacoma’s Tripod Series. Thank you to all those who agreed to be interviewed for this project, and to the fabulous Lynn Di Nino for allowing me to be a part of this event. I will share more on this at a later date.
Earlier in that same day, I hosted South End Neighborhood Council’s Neighborhood Moment, in partnership with TV Tacoma, as well as guests from Tacoma Community House and the Tacoma Refugee Choir. Click here for more information.
If you’re in Tacoma on Friday, May 10, you should check out the Grand Cinema’s 253 Short Film Fest Viewing Party! I signed up with a group of total strangers, wrote the script, and constructed props for the project “Terrorium”, which we had 72 hours to complete. Like you, it will be my first time seeing the finished product! Click here for tickets and more details.
Currently, I’m available for writing, presentations, consultations, and more. Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s time once again for the “oh wait, I’ve been working on everyone else’s projects what about my own website I should really do something about that” redesign. Please bear with me as some links may need to be re-set.
Thanks to a fun year of health issues, from bilateral hand arthritis to glaucoma to chronic migraines and finally getting to experience my first biopsy sans sedation (0 stars, do not recommend), I have been a little preoccupied. It hasn’t been all bad; even the “bad” has provided some great comedy material. I presented for the first time on a panel at Seattle’s GeekGirl Con in 2018 and ran for office. The latter did not go as planned, but it allowed me to address my concerns regarding equity and access in Pierce County. I also left a three-year long career in vocational rehabilitation services, and I’m figuring out next steps.
Fortunately, I have several projects in the work. I am still heavily involved in my community. I have been focused on helping Tacoma’s South End Neighborhood Council undergo some overdue changes in term of outreach, website, social media, and neighborhood engagement. I’m currently working on a historical research project, which will be presented at Tacoma artist Lynn Di Nino’s April 2019 Tripod Series. I’m getting caught up on editing and uploading photos from the past year. And as I have received several requests to help on various political and social justice campaigns, I am once again offering my services as a paid consultant. Other projects will be announced as dates and details are confirmed.
On Sunday, January 21, I was in Las Vegas to attend the 2018 Women’s Rally with my high school principal, who I hadn’t seen in 20 years. Here are just a few photos of the several thousand who came from across the country to speak out against sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, inequality, hate, and the intersection of all these: Trump.
Thank you to everyone who marched, rallied, or provided child care so others could do so. And thank you to everyone who keeps standing up for social justice, even when there are no cameras around to document it. Your hard work matters, your passion matters, and you matter.
Russian police at Strategy-31 protest, Moscow. 2012. Photo, Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.
Woman standing at window in schoolhouse in Isandula, Tanzania. Photo, Suzanne Skaar. 2015.
Photo, Suzanne Skaar. 2017. All rights reserved.
Photo, Suzanne Skaar. 2017. All rights reserved.
Despite studying photography as an Evergreen undergrad, and documenting many of my adventures around the globe, I am just now starting to update my portfolio and get back into taking pictures regularly. Click on the link above for a quick glimpse into some of my work. This page (like my work) will evolve with time.