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.]
2015 was jam-packed, and did not progress at all as I predicted it would. I ran for office on a well-developed social justice platform with $150, went to Africa, learned some Swahili and Nyakusa, watched my daughter’s language and social skills blossom, made new friends, developed my shop, started the wheels turning for a new media platform, stood up for myself and others, recently began looking at new career opportunities, was made Second Vice-Chair of the City of Tacoma Human Rights Commission, and am finishing the year with pneumonia and maybe malaria, too. I’m finding lessons even in the setbacks. For example, it probably shouldn’t take fluid in the lungs to make me take a break, but it seems like I have to learn this lesson every year.
I have been inspired by many friends whose work improves communities around the globe. In addition to illustrations of dinosaurs and a flailing Moped Guy, I plan to tell somewhat more serious stories in the coming year through writing and podcasting. I’ll share links as new projects are completed. As always, if you would like to collaborate, drop me a line at nominestudios [at] hotmail [dot] com.
Thank you for your support. Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a Happy New Year. Make 2016 count.