Rapa Nui Day of Protest, March 16th 2011

I recently had the pleasure of photographing (on my birthday!) a protest and demonstration in support of the indigenous people of Rapa Nui, who currently suffer under the aggressive military action and occupation of their land by the Chilean government.

The protest was organized by the Oceanic Coalition of Northern California (O.C.N.C), and featured Pacific Islander leaders, activists, and students from all over the Bay Area, as well as guests from Rapa Nui and Hawai’i.

I had an amazing time taking pictures, and I got to catch up with a lot of folks I hadn’t seen in a while – as well as meet some amazing new people. Being in a very highly commercial area, it was especially poignant to see all of us gathered for a cause worth more than anything that could be bought in a store. Rapa Nui is so tiny, and so overlooked or forgotten by mainstream media, that I think it felt really good for everyone to stand in alliance and be noisy about it. It brought to mind the the Maori phrase:

Ahakoa he iti, he iti pounamu / Although small, it is precious



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