Saturday, March 7, 2015

Branded- The Event

There are times in life where we as humans are presented with the chance to make a difference. February 28th was one of those days. 

At the start of this quarter I enrolled in Seattle Pacific University's Social Venture Plan. 
The team I worked with consist of four other members besides my self. 
Together we have built the basics of business plan. 

That day,I spent 12 hours in a classroom with over 30 other individuals, each of us separated into are distinct groups. 

My team, worked diligently with 4 members of Seattle Pacific University's art center to build our Brand. 

This event is called Branded.
SPU Branded Event

 As a team, we built our Brand Logo, created our mission and vision statements, our slogan, and renamed our company. 

Over the 12 hours we spent together, we became not only friends, but gained a better understanding of how both Business elements and Creative/Visual design plays a part in how the world sees a company.

Our team, we call our self's Bis, 



twice; for a second time (used in musical scores to indicate a part to be repeated)
sentence substitute 
encore! again!
Word Origin
C19: via Italian from Latin, from Old Latin duis

Our Slogan:

"Empowering a community through creative reuse"

We plan to employ adults with special needs to create Home Decor Products out of up-cycled goods. 

We plan to start with books, but not just any books. Books that can't be recycled due to the glue in the bindings...

How you ask are we going to turn these ugly and simple hardbound books in to class art deco home decor..

Well just take a gander at the photos below.  

Photo by Rika
Photo by Rika
Photo by Rika

All photos of the actual Product were taken by ShaeLee Haglund.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Call to Action: Why Islamophobia and Racism needs to stop

I cannot express in words alone my outrage at the lack of coverage of the events that are happening here on American soil. First three young Muslims were murdered in their home in Chapel Hill, NC. These lives were taken over a parking dispute??? I call bull shit…. this man, (I won’t mention his name because I don’t believe in glorifying killers. ) took the lives of innocent people due to his views towards religion, his disgust for colored people, and his deep seeded hatred of Islam and it’s followers.

Now I see that an Islamic institution was set on fire in Huston.


Why, Is hatred so deeply instilled in these people that they have to lash out against anything that differs from their point of view.

How can I tell you all that all lives matter and make you understand that the god that someone prays to and the color of their skin is no reason to hate? We as humans are infinitely diverse. If we were to be all the same wouldn't nature had made it so?  If we were all the same, I can almost guarantee that hate would still exist. People would find the most absurd reasons to hate others.

If you think for even a second that racism doesn't exist, than you are either willfully ignorant or just plain naive. Hate Crimes exist, people die every day because of the color of their skin. Sadly it is almost always at the hands of white man. This needs to stop, we need to start educating children that being different is not something to be feared, but rather something to hold in high esteem. Being different makes you special for all the right reasons.

We do not all need to follow the same god, to be good. We do not need the same shade of skin to be considered worthy of respect. Are differences is what makes the world an amazing place. 

One of the biggest issues though with overcoming this issues is that it is not just American's, Its happening every where. Countless people are being killed for racist and religious reasons. In every city in every country someone is being taught to hate that which is different, and it needs to stop. 

We need to stop supporting movies like American Sniper, that promote Nazi propaganda,  White Dog that promoted killing of black people through the use of an attack dog. American History X,  promotes white supremacy and the neo-nazi movement. Don't even get me started on the hidden racism in Disney movies, such as Fantasia. 

This is a call to action: If you believe that we are equal regardless of skin color, religious preference, gender, etc. Then educate your friends, start talking about the issues. When you see someone being racist towards someone don't just stand there and let it happen.

We are not born knowing how to hate, we are taught how to hate. We have the ability to undo that hate, but it requires more than sharing news stories, it requires action. 

Stop watching the propaganda new shows like FOX and ABC. Stop being brainwashed by media. Open your eyes see the world for what it is. You want to know what is really going in the world, watch Al Jazeera, or some other news broadcast that is not American Based, if you really want to know something other than what Kim Kardashian is doing, or how Iggy is being pushed out by the rap community. 

So let me be the first to say this, and i absolutely mean it.

If you are even in the slightest a racist, a bigot or just plain naive to the world we live in. Please Un-follow me. I will not be a friend to someone who feels it is right to put another person down for any reason.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Through Indigeous Eyes

My name is Nashoba Tohbi,  it's Choctaw for White Wolf.
Most of you know my by my given name, Erica. 
or my Handle Rika..
But I only consider one of those to be my real name...
A few years back, after my father passed, I made the choice to give my self a native name. 
Traditionally, you would receive your native name at birth. The only exception to this is if you are not born on the reservation. When you feel that you are ready you can pick your own name, but you must pick one that accurately describes you completely.
I took me almost three years to decide on the name that I wanted to describe and sum up who I am as a person, the life I have lived and my view towards the world around me. It was a hard choice because when I began this journey, I barely knew who I was, let alone who I want to be.
I am an extrovert, and in being so I like to socialize, but not with everyone. Just like a wild wolf, gaining my trust is hard task. One in which takes years to build and seconds to destroy. Once you burn a bridge with me, there is no going back.
I observe my surroundings before taking action and I will defend my beliefs and the people I love till my very last breath.  I am true to myself, some might see it as selfish, but my happiness only exist by the choices I make.
So I made a choice, 
I went to the ocean many times, I traveled around the state, went on a few road trips.

I picked my name by
Taking in the world around me in the way it was meant to be...
At least for me...

Through my hazel and indigenous eyes...
Through experiences, with out judgement..
Through life seen in technicolor,
where everyone is my brother, sister, mother, father, etc
and in a world where the words 
Race, Ethnicity, Color 
do not exist, 
at least not in the way where they describe a person based on traits.
People are people, 
and as Kaskade once said,
" We're just all red inside, that's all to see here, 
Yeah, we're red inside, we're all red inside"
Cut us and we all the bleed the same..

The world Through my Indigenous Eyes...
All photos taken by me..

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tent City 3: Homelessness At Our Door

When I first heard the name Tent City 3.. a lot of different things ran through my mind. What is tent city, why are they coming to my school, and how will this impact me?

All of these thoughts we a bit selfish and now that I know more about Tent city and the people who live there I have to say it has been one of the best experiences in my life. 
If you have read my previous post on my personal life, then you know that I too have been homeless and know the struggle of getting back on ones feet. 

Tent City 3 is a self managed homeless shelter where the rules are created by Share and Enforced by the members/residents of Tent City. 

Now before I get into what I have come to learn about Tent City let me give you a bit of background on who they are and why they are here. 

 Tent city is a transitional encampment that moves every three months to a new location, mostly hosted by church's or on private property. Tent City 3 was facing one of the most difficult dilemmas a shelter could face, they had no where to go and faced being disbanded for the next three months while they tired to find a place to host them. 

When Seattle Pacific University heard about this dilemma, We graciously open not only our arms but also our front door.  
Tent City 3 now resides on the main lawn on the north side of Tiffany Loop. 

During the few months before Tent City moved on to our front door, there had been a lot controversy over the location of where Tent City 3 would reside. Many people in the Fremont and Queen Ann area were against hosting the housing community that caters to the homeless. Sadly most people where against because they were naive and closed minded to what Tent City really is and how it can truly benefit the community. 

Tent City is a branch of the  Seattle Housing And Resource Effort, more commonly known as SHARE and is also a partner of WHEEL: Women's Housing Equality and Enhancement League.
Which are organizations of Homeless and formerly homeless members. 

SHARE/WHEEL is King County's largest shelter network, hosting 15 indoor shelters and 2 Tent Cities.  In addition to the shelters and tent cities they also facilitate Storage locker program and Housing for work program. Tent city currently caters to about 100 homeless people and provides them with shelter for as long as need, as long as they commit to the rules laid out by SHARE. 

So now you know who and what Tent City is, but if you haven't seen it for your self you are missing out.  SPU's Motto/Mantra is Engaging the Culture and Changing the World and it has never been more true than now. 

Hosting Tent City is more than just giving a 100 people a place to lay their heads at night. It is a learning opportunity, a way to serve the community and way to learn about how bad homelessness really is in Seattle. 

During my visit to Tent City I learned that they live by strict guide lines,The Tent City Code of Conduct prohibits  alcohol, drugs, weapons, fighting, abuse of any kind, littering or disturbing neighbors. 

All residents must sign an agreement to abide by this code and failure to do so can be cause for immediate expulsion. Residents form an Executive Committee that is responsible for site security, resident identification and donations management. 
One member of the Executive Committee is on duty, awake and available 24 hours per day. Police are contacted immediately if warranted by a situation.

The Tent City application states that Tent City residents are required to have valid picture identification with all prospective residents checked for warrants and sex offender status by the King County Sheriff’s Department. 

Tent City states that people with active warrants are not allowed to stay at Tent City. Tent City also reports that Police will be notified immediately of anyone rejected due to warrant status or that has registered sex offender status.

These rules are strictly enforced by the self governed residents, if anyone fails to follow the code of conduct they are kicked out and not allowed to return. However they can find shelter in any of the other SHARE programs, if they haven't been kicked out those shelters previously. 

Now you may be a bit confused on how Tent city is putting and end to homelessness, and honestly so was I. Which why I went in for a tour, this is what I learned. 

First off let me rid your mind of the fact that all homeless people are homeless due to drug or alcohol abuse. Every single resident of Tent city is completely clean and sober. 

Some of the residents of tent city are there because they were laid off and lost their house when they couldn't make ends meet. Some are there because they fell on hard times, or they were sick and couldn't work and ended up losing everything. These people are choosing to get out of the endless cycle of being homeless. Many of the formerly homeless return to tent city, not as residents, but as volunteers. 
All the people who reside in Tent city have the option to work for tent city, they are paid minimum wage to preform duties such as, being on night patrol, being a security guard, cooking meals, vehicle maintenance, grant writing.. and many other things. Other residents are able to find work outside of tent city. Since Tent City gives them a valid address they can apply for jobs and other things like ID Cards aiding in the process of finding a job. 

Residents of Tent city eat One hot meal a day, provided by volunteers throughout the community. 

Other meals are prepared by residents, with food that is provided by donations of local grocery stores. Currently Tent city only has a coffee pot and microwave. They have no refrigerator but have a few coolers to store food in. Tent City needs your help, If you can donate anything at all that would be amazing, 

Follow this link to see what Tent City 3  is in need of!

Tent city is a much needed but temporary resource in the battle to end Homelessness.  

Each year people come together and volunteer to count the Homeless. 

Its called One Night Count
"The One Night Count sets in motion a full year of education, engagement, and action for Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness ("the Coalition"). We work throughout the year to make sure that every person who is homeless counts."
Last years Count:

Now in 2015 these numbers have risen by 21% with an average 3772 people going to sleep each night on the streets of Seattle. 

If You would like to know how you can get Involved to End Homelessness
Visit these links

Saturday, January 31, 2015

American TV, Does it Capture the Diversity of America Yet?

As humans, we are addicted to stories and the Hollywood entertainment industry caters to our thirst for these stories by providing us with an endless stream of them. Whether it be theatrical films or Television shows, we live vicariously through the pain and pleasure of the multitude of characters presented in these productions. We in a sense try on their predicaments for size and in the process of doing so we reflect on who we are, who we are not, and who we hope to be.    

Historically speaking there has been a dearth of gender, racial and ethnic diversity in film and television, both in front and behind the camera. This reality has meant limited access to employment for women and minorities and to a truncating of the domain of media images available for circulation in contemporary society. 

After many years of watching television change, I had to ask my self, does American TV capture the diversity in America?  Sadly the answer at least in my opinion is a resounding no. We are however making changes that could lead to it finally becoming a Yes.  

Take for example Saturday Night Live, which has been on air since 1975 has in its life time only hired on three black women and had only featured one other black women, Yvonne Hudson in 1980, this says more about the show than about the talent pool. All three women casted over the four decades only lasted for a season or less.

In this context its no wonder that a prime cast member Kenan Thompson launched a debate in early November of 2013 explaining that the show is dearth of black women. Most people know that Saturday Night Live was built on the premise that the actor weren't quite ready for Prime Time TV, but this doesn't mean that the show’s executive producer is racist or is discriminating, just that he doesn't see the value in having a diverse cast. It begs the question, is television to white? 

In contrast Jay Pharoah, who predominately plays President Obama on the show does see the value in having a more diverse cast. He has reach out and argued with "SNL" that they should hire Darmirra Brunson a comedian on Tyler Perry's sitcom "Love Thy Neighbor.” When Pharoah was asked why they should hire her, his pointedly response was " Because she's black, First of all," but he also went on to praise her talent.

The majority of Prime Time television fails in truly representing the country that the majority of its stories are based in. When marginalized groups in society are excluded from the stories a nation tells about it self, or when those images in the media are rooted so deep in stereotypes, inequality is normalized and is more likely to be reinforced over time through our practices and prejudices.  

Recently ABC has taken a stand and Paul Lee the networks entertainment programming head states  "We really do think ABC reflects the new face of America", "America has changed. It's the right thing to do.".  The new 2014-2015 line up host 10 new shows featuring non-white characters and/or show creators, numbers that have not been seen since the days of the Cosby show and the flux of people trying to clone it. Don't think that this change is about fairness or altruism; over looking the fact the America has been a largely diverse country for a while now.  Can the network keep its agreement to make diversity a priority?, or will they screw this up?

Nothing and I mean nothing can reverse the efforts of trying to make television more diverse then epic failure.  But let us not focus on their potential failure and take a look at the ground breaking new season.  ABC came in strong by handing off their Thursday night spot to Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Then they scheduled Rhimes newest show How to Get Away with Murder to air right after her two hits. Giving the most powerful black woman in scripted television her own night in primetime, with two shows starring black women. Which has never ever happened before in the history of television. 

ABC network has a whole slew of new shows that are ethnically and racially diverse, Black-ish, Cristela, Fresh Off the Boat, American Crime, casting more black, latino, and Asian people than any other network for the 2014-2015 season. 

Fox has also stepped up by casting more non-white character in shows like Red Band Society, Bordertown, Empire, State of Affairs, and CBS is hosting Extant which features Hally Berry. 

Could television really be changing it tune about diversity of the roles it casts? Is this change going to last after the 2014-2015 season? 
What are your thoughts? Does American TV capture the diversity of America yet?