Tacoma’s Hilltop, Ferry Park, S 14th St is Out Of Control! TAKE ACTION!!!

The area on S 14th Street from MLK to Cushman is the current hot spot for narcotic trafficking, illegal explosives (can’t very well call this stuff fireworks) blocking the streets, fights and harassing people.

Cars are regularly racing and spinning brodies in the street.

This goes on well into the wee hours of the morning.

For the last several weeks, one can not even drive down Sheridan Ave past S 14th St because the street is blocked by large crowds of people.

I saw a group of young males literally chase a woman who was asking them to quiet down back into her house, sexually harassing her and telling her to “fucking get used to it.”

This element now OWNS these streets and Ferry Park.

The know they own it.

If and when TPD shows up (they have been trying a little bit more lately once you can get past the people at South Sound 911) they are ineffective.

They either just drive by, stop their cars without getting out, or contact one or two people and then leave with the problem still going on.

Last night they left Ferry Park with 20 people still blocking the street, yelling, fighting, blasting music and drug dealing.

On the rare occasion they actually break up a crowd, they never come back. These crowds know this and they return in greater numbers, bolder than before.

We have been advised by our TPD CLO Martin Price to dial 911 because these narcotics trafficking groups were displaced from the Stop Mart.

The reason for calling 911 is because it is a crime (usually multiple crimes) in progress and that’s the only way it gets recorded for statistical purposes. The folks at LESA/South Sound 911 are getting a bit better about taking the calls and not just blind transferring to the non-emergency number but it’s still a great exercise in frustration to try to deal with them (I sure they don’t like it any more than we do right now because we are freaked out and angry when we call and don’t have the details they want from us – Seriously, there are 40 people in the middle of the street, there is a fight, do you really think I’m going out there to get details as to who is doing what? Have the officers look for the huge, loud violent group of people in the middle of the street, it’s quite obvious from blocks away.

The point is.

This is being allowed to continue.

It is getting worse not better.

We are not getting any help (or sleep, or peace or feeling of safety in our own homes)

Something needs to be done.

It needs to be done NOW!

Those of you who have lived here any length of time remember the beating death of Eric Towes.

It’s only a matter of time before the drive by shootings increase again and/or someone is beaten to death, again.

We must hold TPD and our alleged city leaders accountable.

So here’s what we can do.

Dial 911, tell them that CLO Martin Price has instructed that this be a 911 call and that these groups are known narcotics traffickers.

Call every time. They won’t have documentation that it is a problem without the calls no matter how frustrating and time wasting they are.

Contact your local CLOs https://www.cityoftacoma.org/government/city_departments/police/operations_bureau/community_policing_division/

Contact your city council representatives http://www.cityoftacoma.org/government/city_council

Take photos, better yet video, and post/send it to local media outlets.

Tonight will be even worse than last night, so I’ll be taking video and hashtagging #tacoma #hilltop #unsafe #crime

We MUST take action!


When Mothers’ Day Is Anything But Happy

Tomorrow, mothers will be served breakfast in bed, taken out to brunch and children of all ages will happily send cards, flowers and good wishes to the women who raised them.

Social media, well… all media will be filled with reminders of the day, stores will be filled with shoppers, restaurants will be overflowing with mothers and their children and even your local street corner may be occupied by someone selling mothers’ day flowers.

It will be a day of love and happiness.

But not for everyone.

It will be a day of inescapable pain for many.

Women who have tried to conceive and been unable

Mothers who have lost children

Those who have lost their mother

Those who were abused or neglected by their mother

Those who are estranged from their mother

Yes, a woman who has been unable to conceive can adopt, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel a great loss and/or inadequacy for not being able to do what many traditions deem to be the most important and sacred duty for a woman. Add to that, the fact that the average cost of adoption in this country ranges from $34,093.00 to $39,966.00 which is a hefty debt to take on, on top of what it costs to raise a child and it’s not so simple or even possible for many.

For a woman who has lost a child by miscarriage, illness, suicide or accident, Mothers’ Day is nothing but overwhelming pain, loss and (unfounded) guilt. We all expect to outlive our parents, but no one expects or should have to bury a child.

While we all expect to outlive our parents, it doesn’t make that loss any less traumatic and life altering.

Many more suffer in silence because they were neglected or abused by their mothers. It’s still considered taboo to speak about such things, and often when the victims of such behavior choose to share with those they trust, that trust is most often, albeit, unintentionally violated by well meaning but misguided advice to forgive and get over it. It’s not that simple or perhaps even possible, and if you are ever tempted to give that little nugget of advice to someone… Don’t.

For those whose abusive, or neglectful mothers are still alive, they may have made the painful decision to sever ties for their physical and emotional health and that of their families. No matter how grievous the offenses against them and no matter how many other options were exhausted first, they are wracked with guilt and don’t need someone telling them that they should “reach out” on Mothers’ Day. Again, if you’re tempted to offer this advice… Don’t

Those of you who are or still have their mothers, embrace that day, tell and show them how much you love them.

If you are a mother, hug and kiss that child and tell them how much you love them and how proud you are of them (bonus if they are of an age where they pretend to hate it 😉

None of us will begrudge you the happiness that we lost or were never afforded. We don’t want to ruin the day for you. If we care about you, we want you to have your happiness because we never know when life will change or end and that happiness is fleeting.

I share this, in hope that you will not, in an effort to help, make this day harder on someone who is estranged from their mother or has bad memories of their mother.

I share this because many people (far more than you would likely ever imagine) will be in pain tomorrow, most of them will not tell anyone how painful Mothers’ Day is for them out of fear of ruining the celebration for others and/or the fear of being judged and given unsolicited, inappropriate and damaging advice.

I share this so they will know that their experiences and pain are valid and that they are not alone.



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I Weep, I Will…

I do not weep for myself…

I weep for those whose very lives depend on subsidized health care

I weep for couples in same sex marriages

I weep for people of color

I weep for those who are transgender

I weep for young girls being treated as objects to be judged, groped and abused

I weep for young boys being raised in a culture of toxic masculinity

I weep for young women who rely on community clinics for birth control and reproductive health care

I weep for refugees

I weep for those of non-Christian faiths

I weep for those sent to war for profit

I weep for the environment

Do not mistake my tears for weakness.

They are part of a process

With every tear, my heart fills with new resolve.

I WILL make a difference

I will feed people who are hungry

I will defend people who are persecuted and bullied

I will empower those who feel powerless

I will counter your hate with love

For every hateful act you commit or condone, I will act in kindness

For every person you abuse or marginalize, I will lift someone up

For every curse you utter, I will sing a praise

Love will win


L. Lisa Lawrence November 9th, 2016




Frost Park Chalk Off

Every Friday at Noon, through the month of October, a group of artists, downtown workers on their lunch breaks, kids from the Urban Explorers (and anyone we can pull off the street and hand a piece of chalk to) gather at Frost Park at 9th and Pacific to create public art, build community and socialize.

You don’t need any experience. Heck, you don’t even need chalk, we always have chalk to share!

All levels welcome and encouraged to attend.

The sidewalks are clean after this morning’s rain, and are a blank canvass just waiting for you!

What is the Frost Park Chalk Off?

You can view a video here.


You can also see a photo album with a few photos from recent weeks here


Come get your chalk on!


Allegedly “neutral” Mayor Strickland Supporting Methanol Refinery in Greenwashing Video

If there were any people left in town who actually believed that our city council members were being silent because they had to remain “neutral” in regards to the proposed methanol refinery, their hopes for honesty from our elected officials have been dashed.

Just today a video surfaced on YouTube in which our allegedly “neutral” mayor Marilyn Strickland sings the praises of the proposed methanol refinery.

The video created by the shell company working for the Chinese conglomerate was posted under an account belonging to “Citizens for a Green Economy” which is not a grassroots citizens coalition as they would like you to believe, but is in fact run by the company who is attempting to greenwash this ridiculous and dangerous proposal.

For more detailed information, visit RedLineTacoma.org

One thing is very clear…

We have been lied to and are still being lied to.

Our mayor is a liar.

Our city council members are liars.

Something stinks in Tacoma and it’s not the aroma.

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Please Stop Perpetuating a non-existent Tacoma Inferiority Complex – An open letter to the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club

I woke up this morning to messages from cyclist friends of mine asking what in the hell is wrong with the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club (TWBC) and what their beef with the Cascade bicycle club is.

It didn’t take long to find a news article about the president of the TWBC, Darrell Eslinger, with all the civility and grace of a GOP presidential candidate on the debate platform throwing a tantrum because Cascade Bicycle Club is holding a ride on the new 520 bridge and he feels that he and everyone else should be able to ride it for free (which they can at any other time once the bridge is opened to the public for cycling)

As the alleged leader of an organization that hosts paid rides such as the Daffodil Classic which are also held on public roads, he of all people should understand the cost of liability insurance, port a potties, security and staffing for such an event. I don’t think he, or the Daffodil committee would appreciate someone from another bicycle club in another town demanding to be able to ride it for free.

Seriously? Are we in middle school?

This pathological need for the TWBC to perpetuate an inferiority complex in the name of Tacoma is embarrassing and insulting.

I’ve looked the other way for years as TWBC has hosted “anti Chilly Hilly” and “anti STP” events. Offering less expensive alternatives closer to home is a great idea, but does it have to come with such immature snark and intentionally creating animosity?

My membership is up for renewal, but I am not renewing it this year because I do not want to be associated with a group who promotes this sort of antagonistic agenda.

It’s time for the TWBC to grow up and focus on making positive contributions here in Tacoma, instead of worrying about what someone else is doing in another city and creating adolescent drama for no good reason.

Tacoma deserves better.

Tacoma is better than this.




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Happy Solstice – The Return of the Light


Up here in the North, the skies are dark even at mid day.  Clouds and rain add to the gloom. [update]  How dark is it?  My dusk to dawn lights came on before noon.

But that is all about to change (albeit slowly) for tonight is the longest darkest night, and the light will begin to return.

Happy Winter Solstice! (Of course, it is only Winter Solstice for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere; happy Summer Solstice to our friends South of the equator)

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Winter Solstice is the promise of new life; we really won’t notice the days getting longer until closer to Candlemas/Brigid/Ground Hog’s Day.

Tonight, a group of friends and loved ones will gather in my back yard for a bonfire (we may need rain gear this year). We will write down what we want to leave in the darkness as well as what we want to bring with us into the light and put those into the fire (which was of course, the yule log) The smoke from that fire will send our wishes to the heavens. (in a wish lantern, weather permitting)  We will then, “pass the light”, candle to candle whilst listening to (and in many cases, signing) Dar Williams, “The Christians and the Pagans”. We then all sang along to “Here Comes The Sun” a Solstice classic. We will then share food, drink and merriment through the darkest night.

It doesn’t matter what religion you are or aren’t. It doesn’t matter what you believe. The Solstice is an astronomical event that draws everyone together at this time of year to celebrate light, love and hope.

Each year, I love to post the Northern Exposure video to the story Raven Steals the Light being told (I’ve used it for the children’s story at Solstice rituals in years past)

It is a traditional story from the Northwest Coast and Alaska.

I like this Northern Exposure version.

Not everyone knows this, but the town of ‘Cicily Alaska” is about an hour and a half from where I live, and is in fact Roslyn Washington (yes, I’ve been to The Brick)

and here’s another wonderful story of light in a magical part of the world (the Great Pacific Northwest)…

And of course, my traditional Solstice post/greeting…

On this night, around 3,000 years BC, a very special event unfolds at a place we now call Newgrange. A group gathers around a large circular stone structure. A drumbeat resounds across the mist-shrouded hills of ancient Ireland, bump bump… bump bump… bump bump…; The heartbeat of mother earth. The scent of incense mingles with moss, moist earth and the burning torches. All gaze hopefully towards the eastern horizon. After what seems like an eternity, it happens, the rising sun begins its ascent. Once again all attention is turned to the structure with great anticipation. Suddenly an intense shaft of light pierces the innermost chamber of the structure, illuminating a stone basin adorned with carvings of spirals, eyes, solar disks, and other sacred symbols. A joyful sound rises from the crowd, who then begin to dance ecstatically. For the darkest darkness of winter has passed, and the light has returned. Soon: the hills will be covered in fresh green grasses and wildflowers, trees will bloom and set fruit, animals will give birth, the songs of birds will fill the skies. The cycle of life will continue. The world, once again, has been reborn.

Tonight we celebrate an event, which predates our modern religious celebrations, an event as old as time its self. Just as events like this were observed at Newgrange Ireland, we find similar ancient architectural wonders based on solstices and equinoxes all across Europe, Asia, The Americas, Indonesia and the Middle East. Thousands of years ago, these monolithic structures were built and elaborate ceremonies held, out of reverence for the cycle of life, and perhaps the fear that without human intervention, the sun would not return.

At the winter solstice, the tilt of the earth on its axis, is such that our hemisphere is leaning farthest away from the sun, our days are shortest and the sun is at the lowest arc in the sky. For thousands of years, our ancestors honored the cycles of life: solstices, equinoxes, harvests and plantings. The winter solstice is perhaps the most sacred of these celebrations. So sacred in fact, that modern religious observations all over the world take place on or near the time of the solstice. Solstice observance is not a celebration that excludes or dismisses any other religious celebration; rather it is the common bond of many modern and not so modern religions.

The time of the winter solstice represents death and rebirth, just as corn stalks wither and die in the fields in the fall, so does the symbolic god give his body to nourish the earth, only to be reborn of the goddess again on this darkest night. The original divine birth. Is it any wonder then: that the Christian church chose this sacred time of the year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Hebrew people to celebrate the Festival of Lights, or Native Americans and other aboriginal peoples to celebrate their sacred events?

Solstice is not only a time to celebrate the retreat of darkness and the return of the light, but it is a time to look inward, at the darkness within ourselves and to embrace it. For without darkness, there would be no light. Without challenge, there would be no triumph. It is a time to celebrate the death of old habits, thought patterns, and difficulties, a time to celebrate a spiritual renewal. The darkness gives us all a chance to embrace and work through our own darkness, so that like the earth, we may also be renewed.

L. Lisa Lawrence
Copyright 1998

Here’s our observance from 2007 (the video is just too much fun!)

Here’s one from two years ago, in my back yard. For the last several years, the weather has cooperated for a bonfire even when the forecast is for a 100% chance of rain. Last night, the howling winds stopped just before we were ready to move outside.

Here are the songs from the video, my favorite Winter Solstice songs…

“The Christians and the Pagans” by Dar Williams

Amber called her uncle, said, “We’re up here for the holiday,
Jane and I were having Solstice, now we need a place to stay.”
And her Christ-loving uncle watched his wife hang Mary on a tree,
He watched his son hang candy canes all made with red dye number three.
He told his niece, “It’s Christmas eve, I know our life is not your style,”
She said, “Christmas is like Solstice, and we miss you and it’s been a while.”

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And just before the meal was served, hands were held and prayers were said,
Sending hope for peace on earth to all their gods and goddesses.

The food was great, the tree plugged in, the meal had gone without a hitch,
Till Timmy turned to Amber and said, “Is it true that you’re a witch?”
His mom jumped up and said, “The pies are burning,” and she hit the kitchen,
And it was Jane who spoke, she said, “It’s true, you’re cousin’s not a Christian,
But we love trees, we love the snow, the friends we have, the world we share,
And you find magic from your God, and we find magic everywhere.”

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And where does magic come from , I think magic’s in the learning,
‘Cause now when Christians sit with Pagans only pumpkin pies are burning.

When Amber tried to do the dishes, her aunt said, “Really, no, don’t bother.”
Amber’s uncle saw how Amber looked like Tim and like her father.
He thought about his brother, how they hadn’t spoken in a year,
He thought he’d call him up and say, “It’s Christmas and your daughter’s here.”
He thought of fathers, sons and brothers, saw his own son tug his sleeve,
Saying, “Can I be a Pagan?” Dad said, “We’ll discuss it when they leave.”

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old,
And making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold…

And of course, the required Solstice tune…

“Here comes the sun” by the Beatles

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right
It’s all right…

Just now, it just now… happened…

Blessed Solstice all, let’s look to the light.


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The Power of Words

I was reminded last night at the World Aids Day event at the Tacoma Art Museum how powerful words are.

Words have great power

The power to create laughter…

The power to bring tears…

The power to harm…

the power to heal…

The power to discourage…

The power to encourage…

The power to create…

The power to destroy…

The power to share love…

The power to spread hate…

The power to bring truth…

The power to manipulate with lies…

The power of words can change the world

The power to educate…

The power to influence…

The power to ignite passion…

The power to bring people together for a common cause…

The power to spark revolution…

The power to create change…

We should all strive to find and use our voices

To choose and use our words to work toward a better world.

Our words… Your words, are important!

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Response to Art, AIDS, America Exhibit at TAM

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I was proud to have a piece of poetry accepted and to be invited to read at tonight’s Tacoma Art Museum’s World Aids Day event.

My friend Elizabeth Beck (who encouraged me to submit because I had missed the call) opened the show, her sister and my friend Jennifer Chushcoff was also a featured poet and I closed out the show.

We wrote “reaction” pieces based on our experiences at the Art, AIDS, America exhibit.

My poem was a reaction to not only the exhibit, but to the dichotomy between the Dia De Los Muertos event and the AAA exhibit.

Here are the words I shared tonight…


She watched as a woman lovingly created an altar honoring her departed loved ones, who shared stories of her father and mother’s love, of happy memories with her brother…

Then… how quickly the cancer took her aunt’s life and how she had not yet had time to recover from the sudden loss. She continued placing photographs of her loved ones on the altar and returned to her stories of happiness, love and tradition…

Colorful costumes, flowers, candles and ornately decorated offerendas filled with items important to those they were created for graced multiple levels of the museum, all in honor of the dead…

Music played and dancers performed for the beloved dead as children created bright paper flowers, skull masks and participated in other art and craft projects…

It was a Fiesta… for death is part of life and all stages of life are to be celebrated…

She met and spoke to people of many different cultures, some of whom shared traditions of honoring departed loved ones and ancestors…

“How odd”, she thought, that white culture in the Untied States fears death, and does not want to speak of it, more or less celebrate it and those who have passed…

Love was in the air, it was palpable as the love for the ancestors pulsed through the building and out into the world. She could sense that the ancestors knew they were loved and sent their love back in return…

She was so happy she had come as she floated through the event in her ornate costume planning her own night of remembrance in the ancient tradition of her Irish ancestors…

Then she walked down the hall…

Where she was reminded of the stores of the forgotten…

Those who died alone, in agony and unnecessary shame…

Estranged from family and loved ones because of a diagnosis…

She saw graphic depictions of the disease, the suffering, the stigma which was, which is AIDS…

“They are dirty…. sinners…. brought it upon themselves…” 

No compassion, no love, only ignorance, hatred and ostracizing those who needed compassion the most…

Forgotten as friends, lovers, parents, children, cast aside as “damaged”, “dirty” and “shameful” treated as less than human for perceived transgressions…

Gallery by gallery, the pain was exposed, stripped down to raw agony of the mind, body and spirit…

Stripped of dignity…

Denied celebration of life, and death…

Denied remembrance…

In a dark corner, she leaned against the wall, weary, from a heavy heart…

She remembered friends waiting for test results and receiving what at the time was a death sentence, a mark of shame…

A single tear ran down her cheek, smearing her ornate calavera makeup as she walked back down the hall, and out into the world, determined to remember.”

This exhibit will only be shown at three museums nationwide.

It is powerful.

It is provocative.

It is not to be missed!

You can view it at the Tacoma Art Museum through January 10th.



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