Coastweek 2016: Help Clean Up the Maine Coast and Keep the Sea Trash-Free

coastal-clean-up

Headed to the beach on this sunshine daydream weekend? Do your part to keep Earth beautiful, and pack a trash bag in your beach bag! The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup begins Saturday, September 17, and local volunteers are fanning out all across Maine’s 3,375 miles of coastline to pick up over 20,000 pounds of trash.

That’s right—20,000 pounds of trash. Worldwide, 800,000 volunteers collected 18 million pounds of trash during the 2015 Coastal Cleanup! And that’s just the trash we can see from the surface. Human waste and litter makes its way into ocean waters through deliberate dumping, windblown waste, runoff into storm drains, shipping container spillage and much more. And once it makes it way to the sea, it spreads everywhere. Scientists have discovered trash bags in deep sea coral reefs and documented Antarctic fur seals tangled in plastics.

The results are terrible for our oceans—and for our ecosystem:

  • From plastic trash bags to abandoned fishing nets, marine animals are constantly caught and killed by floating trash. Dolphins, sea turtles, fish and seabirds suffocate or starve entangled in litter.
  • Sea creatures often confuse plastic wastes with food, with catastrophic results. Fish confuse microbeads in our soaps with microplanktons, choking them or blocking their digestive systems. (In fact, in many parts of our oceans, plastic particles outnumber plankton!) Sea turtles choke on plastic bags that float like seaweeds. Sea birds fill their bellies with cigarette butts, wrappers and plastic until they always feel full … and slowly starve.
  • Larger pieces of debris create navigational hazards that endanger dolphins, seals, fish—and boats.
  • Chemicals leaching from waste (or deliberately dumped) contaminate the water and close beaches.

Maine’s Coastal Cleanup is focused on tidewrack—the trash the floats on the surface or is washed onto our beaches by the tide. It’s only the tip of the trash iceberg, but cleaning it up makes our beaches safer for humans and wildlife (not to mention more pleasant).

At Mexicali Blues, we’re right on the Damariscotta River—a stunning tidal waterway that empties into the Atlantic. We spend our summers boating, swimming and sunning ourselves on Maine’s bays and beaches. Maine’s oceans are a place of reflection and renewal, a natural resource rich in wildlife and wonder, and a big part of our tourist economy. Our ocean is so rich—and so fragile—that President Obama just designated the first national Marine Monument in the Atlantic of the coast of New England.

So we want every member of the Mexicali Tribe who is beach-bound to take a trash bag and take part in the Coastal Cleanup. You can put together your own Coastal Cleanup Kit, or you can check out the list of Maine coastal communities looking for Coastal Cleanup volunteers. (Community cleanup groups start this weekend and run through October, and will supply volunteers at area beaches with kits and designated disposal areas.)

When you’re done, let the Ocean Conservancy know how many cigarette butts, plastic bags, cups, wrappers, bottles and cans you’ve collected. They’re building an international database of ocean trash to keep an eye on its impact and dumping trends. Together, we can turn the tide on ocean trash!

Labor Day Love: Celebrating the Mexicali Blues Crew

blues_crew2.jpg

“You treat other people right, other people probably treat you cool.” —Grateful Dead

Labor Day weekend is much more than an extra day off. It’s a celebration of the amazing contributions people can make when they are treated well during their dayson. And while many of us are enjoying an extended weekend, many members of the Mexicali Blues team are totally on right now: fulfilling orders, stocking shelves and helping a crush of customers find the perfect tie dye tee, yoga pants or dorm room tapestry.

Our staff really steps up on big shopping days like today. And they love it!  Running a successful retail business is hard work (and it requires working on a few holidays and weekends). But at Mexicali Blues, it’s also rewarding—and fun.

“We are happily committed to providing a positive, productive and fulfilling work experience for our employees here in Maine, as well as those we employ abroad,” explains co-founder Pete Erskine. “When I say I want to work with people who are smiling, I mean it.”

“In Maine, we provide health insurance, paid time off and a generous company discount,” he continues. “And unlike lots of companies, we really encourage our team to travel. Just this summer, members of the Mexicali Blues team went on extended trips to Guatemala and New Zealand!”

“And when we are stocking our stores abroad, we always support local artisans and businesses which are either Fair Trade certified or who provide fair wages, good working environments and never use child labor,” Kim Erskine, co-founder, adds.

Mexicali Blues is also committed to promoting internally and to providing growth opportunities for employees. “Why should your job be less than you are?Jerry Garcia once asked. “If your contribution can be greater, then what we’ll do is invent a reason for it to be greater.” In an industry known for high turnover rates, we give people a reason to stay—and to shine. Some of our employees have been with us over 13 years!

We know that the warm, welcoming atmosphere in our stores is created by the talented and dedicated people who work there. We are blown away, every single day, by the passion this team brings to creating magical store environments and fantastic shopping experiences. We’re inspired by their commitment to supporting worthy causes in their communities. This is a family-owned business, and it feels like a family.

“Our business is successful because of all the hard work, fun and teamwork of our great staff,” adds Kim Erskine. “We truly appreciate it.”

If you are looking for a job that makes you smile—and that encourages you to succeed—talk to a manager or employee at any Mexicali Blues location. We’re a really happy place to work, and we’re hiring!

Support World Elephant Day: pledge to raise awareness about the plight of elephants across the world

elephantbigLOVE

In many of the countries where our world goods are made, elephants are revered, respected and even worshipped. They are also pushed out of their natural habitats by development and pollution, trapped for zoos and amusement parks and illegally poached for their increasingly valuable ivory tusks. On August 12, World Elephant Day reminds us that without increased conservation efforts and care the majesty of Asian and African elephants will soon become just a memory.

Elephants have an average lifespan almost as long as our own, a rich language, complex social traditions and a deep loyalty to their tribe. They are a keystone species in their environment, making essential contributions to the ecosystems where they live. They are big, beautiful and inscrutable. Their babies are completely adorable. In Chinese, the phrase “to ride an elephant” sounds the same as the word for “happiness.” The white elephant is sacred in Thailand and plays a role in the birth of the Buddha. In Africa and Asia, elephants help humans haul heavy loads, travel great distances and support complex ecosystems.

We love elephants. And yet elephants are in grave danger, and it is our fault. African Elephants are critically endangered and Wild Asian Elephants are on the brink of extinction. Less than 100 years ago, there were millions of elephants roaming the continents of Africa and Asia. Today, there are less than 400,000. The black market for illegal ivory is booming, deforestation for lumber and farming is destroying their food and water supply, and they continue to be captured and displayed for our entertainment. An average of 100 elephants are killed every single day through poaching, starvation or captivity.

If we can’t turn these trends around, elephants will be mostly extinct within ten years. 

At Mexicali Blues, we can’t imagine a world without elephants. Rooted in the Muladhara chakra, elephants symbolize memory and sociability, happiness and strength, love and protection. You’ll find elephants all over some of our most popular clothing, jewelry and accessories.

We love elephants, and we want to do something to help. Today we’re taking action for World Elephant Day, and we hope you will, too.

Here are some things you can do to help elephants:

  • Tweet #WorldElephantDay to spread the word about the plight of elephants and visit the World Elephant Day Press Room for Facebook cover photos, sample blog posts, tweets, and more!
  • Color for #elephants with the #EleeDraw challenge. Download it here
  • Help elephants #BeHerd and join the STAMPede @96Elephants
  • Do not buy ivory or other wildlife products. Be an elephant aware consumer.
  • Support one of 10 elephant conservation projects in critical landscapes through The Bodhi Tree Foundation’s ‘Power of 10’ initiative.
  • Study elephants in their “keystone” role in the environment and interrelationships with plants and other animals because all of nature is interconnected.
  • Visit elephants in countries where they live in the wild – tourism benefits the economy, provides needed jobs, deters poachers and abuse, and gives you the opportunity to experience the beauty, intelligence, and emotional capacity of these magnificent giants.
  • If you wish to experience elephants in their natural environment, choose eco-tourism operators who support local elephant conservation projects and who treat elephants with respect and dignity.
  • Learn about and support organizations that are working to protect habitat for wild elephants and finding solutions for human-elephant conflict.
  • Support organizations that are working to stop the illegal poaching and trade of elephant ivory and other wildlife products.
  • Support organizations that are protecting wild elephant habitat.
  • Support organizations that are building natural sanctuaries and alternative habitat for domesticated elephants to live freely.
  • Do not support organizations that exploit or abuse elephants and other animals for entertainment and profit.
  • Support healthy, alternative, sustainable livelihoods for people who have traditionally relied on elephants, wild animals and natural resources. Learn about indigenous cultures that have traditionally lived in harmony with elephants.
  • Be aware of elephant habitat. Do not buy coffee that is not fair-trade or shade-grown, nor products with palm-oil. These commercial crops are grown in plantations that have decimated elephant habitats. Only buy wood products that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes responsible management of the world’s forests – the natural habitat for elephants and other wildlife.
  • Talk about elephants at your school. Initiate an elephant study group to share knowledge and ideas about the plight of elephants and what can be done to ensure their survival into the future.
  • What do you love about elephants? Their intelligence, empathy and caring for one another are just a few of their qualities. Embrace these qualities and live them in your own life.
  • Use your love of elephants and World Elephant Day, August 12, to start a conversation with the next person you meet. Tie a string around your finger right now so, like an elephant, you don’t forget!

Mexicali Blues World of Goods: The Power of Your Prayers for Nepal

When a catastrophic earthquake struck Nepal one year
ago today, Mexicali Blues pledged 100% of proceeds from
Tibetan prayer flag purchases to the recovery and
rebuilding effort. Our generous customers helped us reach
an ambitious goal—$25,000 in aid. On the solemn
anniversary of the earthquake, our founders, Pete and
Kim Erskine, are in Nepal to see firsthand the help and
healing Prayer Flags for Nepal provided.

If you bought a Tibetan prayer flag from Mexicali Blues in the past year, those flags spread blessings on the wind to all who need them. And each week, Mexicali Blues sent the full purchase price where it was needed most—to our dear friends in earthquake-ravaged Nepal.

A few nights ago, a magnitude 4.0 aftershock rumbled through central Nepal. There have been hundreds of such aftershocks in the past year—physical, emotional, financial. Pete and Kim Erskine, traveling in Nepal on a biannual buying trip, can see both destruction and determination to rebuild everywhere they go.

Broken buildings are propped up by makeshift beams, trekkers and tourists are staying away, and one in seven Nepalese still live in makeshift shelters. Food and fuel are scarce, particularly in remote and rural mountain areas. But in the midst of this great struggle, there is great strength. “The feeling here—what everyone is talking about ahead of the anniversary—is gratitude for what they have, not what they have lost,” Pete says. “It’s so positive, and it feels so powerful.”

They are also seeing that one year later, there is still great need. “Unfortunately, much of the huge outpouring of international aid hasn’t been dispersed because the Nepali government is quarreling over who will distribute the funds,” he explains. “The only progress we’re seeing is happening from the bottom up, not the top down. Local communities, and small NGOs with small, well-defined objectives.”

e3071815-a2b8-4646-b58b-21645e5c84dd

These are exactly the sorts of initiatives the Mexicali Blues Prayer Flags for Nepal program chose to support. Tibetans believe that while a prayer flag may fade, the prayer within it becomes a permanent part of the universe. We chose our charitable partners thoughtfully and rigorously so that your contribution had real staying power as well:

 The dZi Foundation works only in the most remote, inaccessible regions of Nepal—the areas that are struggling the most right now. Working hand-in-hand with locals, they are building bridges, schools and health facilities that make earthquake relief accessible and possible. They were working in these remote villages before the quakes, and they have made a long-term commitment to stay. Our Prayer Flag contributions to dZi brought clean drinking water, sanitary toilets, warm shelter and irrigated farmland to over 29,000 people.

MercyCorps has a long and trusted history of supporting sustainable development all across Nepal. Our Prayer Flag donations provided emergency supplies, food, water and safe shelter in Khatmandu and beyond. And because electricity is still so unreliable, our contributions provided emergency mobile charging stations, so families can communicate with each other, and solar lamps, to brighten cold, dark nights.

 The American Himalayan Foundation Fund delivered food, water, tarps and hygiene kits to the hardest-hit areas. They’re building tin and bamboo shelters for housing and schools. Our Prayer Flag contributions are also making sure that the desperation and confusion the earthquake has caused won’t make it easier for girl traffickers to exploit the daughers of Nepal, by making sure even the most remote and ravaged villages have the schools and supplies they need to keep girls safe.

“The money we’ve raised for these nonprofits is great,” Pete continues. “But simply doing business here does just as much good.” The earthquake did extensive damage to the local infrastructure and economy of Nepal. As Pete and Kim visit the artisans, makers and merchants we’ve worked with for years, they are overwhelmed by the gratitude and appreciation for their business.“We’re continuing to make regular shipments from our local artisans here without interruption, because uninterrupted work keeps steady jobs and income for Nepali familes,” says Pete. “That stability is what Nepal desperately needs right now.”

“If you bought a Tibetan prayer flag to help Nepal, you should know that the Day Tripper Hemp Backpack, Kashmiri Embroidered Jacket, and Sirwal Organic Palazzo Pants you buy will do just as much good,” adds Kim.“These are incredible products made by incredible people. They are facing incredible obstacles right now, and it feels great to support their economy.” “It’s a really good feeling to be doing business here,” Pete agrees.

See the latest products from Nepal—and continue to support Nepali people and traditional craftsmanship—at Mexicali Blues.

MLK JR Day 2016: Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

mlk_wisdom

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Today we honor the legacy of Dr. King, who advocated for freedom and equality for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged, and victims of injustice, all through peaceful protest. We invite you to join us in celebrating the mission of this inimitable man and the beautiful words he offered to the world, and to take some time in contemplation of how what he said is still VERY relevant to the world we live in today. May we all work to embody his messages of conscious awareness, love, and peace. 

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.

Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

Prayers for Nepal: 100% of Prayer Flag Sales Will Be Donated to Nepal Relief Efforts

unnamed-16

Help us help our friends, their families, and all of the wonderful people of Nepal, a nation that we hold near and dear to our hearts, during this trying time. After much thought we have decided to donate 100% of the proceeds from prayer flag sales to disaster relief efforts in the country. The process that went into choosing the perfect organization that reflects our ideals was a rigorous one, and in the end we opted to split the proceeds evenly between three different organizations.

We first evaluated organizations from an analytical standpoint based on their transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility, what we consider to be the trifecta of a responsible aid organization. We then reached out to friends on the ground in Kathmandu to better understand the developmental needs in the area, and to make sure that they and their families are safe and sound. The organizations we will be supporting are as follows:

https://dzi.org/

The dZi foundation is focusing on infrastructural development in remote villages affected by the natural disaster that are largely inaccessible by conventional forms of transportation. Their long-term developmental strategy focuses on 7 of the most remote VDC’s (the Nepalese equivalent of a county), where they have already constructed various bridges, schools, & health facilities, as well as having implemented successful community and agricultural development programs. They work hand in hand with locals and international volunteers to improve the quality of life for mountainous Nepalese communities, and will be addressing the infrastructural damages inflicted by the recent earthquake.

https://www.mercycorps.org/

Mercy Corps has a long history of promoting sustainable development in Nepal and is providing emergency relief to victims of the recent earthquake. Our contributions will assist the rebuilding of communities throughout the nation.

http://himalayan-foundation.org/nepalearthquake

The American Himalayan Foundation is an organization based out of Kathmandu dedicated to “helping the people and the ecology of the Himalaya.” In order to help the people of Nepal, AHF created an Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund which dedicates 100% of contributions to the betterment of the dire situation on the ground in Kathmandu and in neighboring communities for the coming months, and will continue with this much needed assistance in years to come.

We encourage you not only to purchase prayer flags to support the victims of this natural disaster, or to provide monetary donations directly to one of above-mentioned organizations, but also to keep Nepal and its people in your thoughts and prayers in the coming months. The hardships faced in the beautiful country of Nepal will hopefully be overcome with the help of continual international support, and above all else we urge you to raise and spread awareness about the ongoing crisis in Nepal. Thank you for your time and for your donations; please pray for Nepal.

Global Goodness, Thailand Edition: Friends of Thai Daughters

1512769_609973432384736_467468646_nWhile the choices we make in our Mexicali travels are always with integrity and compassion in mind, we know the impact we make as a small business is often not as far-reaching as we would like.  Many countries in the world, amidst their beauty, culture, and amazing communities, sadly still have sweatshops and human trafficking. In an effort to spread positivity and do what we can to help, we regularly donate to several organizations in far-flung countries, dedicated to helping and empowering children and adults who have been affected by these unfair and unkind practices.

One of these amazing organizations is Friends of Thai Daughters, which is dedicated to protecting girls who were being trafficked, and offering them a safe living environment and education.  Friends of Thai Daughters focuses its efforts on girls who are the most vulnerable due to their low economic and social status and family hardship. FTD Daughters come from the hill tribes of Northern Thailand and are typically without documentation or citizenship, orphaned, and/or victims of abuse.

The organization is currently helping 17 young girls aged 8 to 23. These girls now live happily and healthily in a cheerfully appointed safe house called “The Sunflower House”, staffed by volunteers including our very own Carly Erskine, daughter of Mexicali owners Pete and Kim.  After spending the past semester studying at Chiang Mai University, Carly knew she wanted to go to the Sunflower House to share her loving support and limitless enthusiasm with the girls, and she has become a valued friend and mentor to them all.  We can’t wait to hear about her and the girls’ adventures when she returns to the States!

Kim is also presently visiting the Friends of Thai Daughters house, and–wanting to become more instrumentally involved in this awesome cooperative–has just joined their board!  Says Kim: “It is a wonderful feeling to live in South Bristol, Maine, and effect change in one of my favorite countries to travel and work in. FTD has made such a difference in young women’s lives, I feel lucky to be a part of such an amazing organization.”

10534756_806122069408773_7687914933429809117_n

Carly & Kim sharing love & laughter in Chiang Mai

To learn more about this awesome initiaive and what you can do to help, check out Friends of Thai Daughters or the Friends of Thai Daughters Facebook page.

 

FARMS Community Kitchen Kickstarter: Building a Local Food Economy in Midcoast Maine with Your Help

Image

Here at Mexicali Blues HQ, we feel so grateful to live and work in a community in which sustainable agriculture, healthy whole foods, and local farming are growing to be valued as important facets of life.  In a world that is frequently oriented towards speed and convenience, the benefits of growing and cooking our own healthy foods often get lost in the shuffle.  Even when we intellectually believe that harvesting and preparing our own food is healthier for our selves, our families, and our planet aren’t always able to pursue that idealistic way of life because we don’t know where to begin!

FARMS is a non-profit organization created in 2004 by parents, teachers, and farmers who wanted to find ways to offer fresh, local foods in Maine school cafeterias. FARMS has thus far provided more than six years of successful hands-on programming in local schools, offering local foods procurement assistance, as well as experiential education in culinary methods and gardening curriculum. However, it is clear that adults are as much in need of FARMS programming as children!

To fill this need, FARMS hopes to open the FARMS Community Kitchen on the second floor of Rising Tide Community Market in Damariscotta in Fall 2013. It will provide a venue where people of all ages can make and share recipes and gather as a community around healthy food.  Teaching people how to actually cook, preserve, and grow local foods is essential to supporting a healthy local food economy, and the FARMS community kitchen will be a place where children and adults will learn these valuable skills in a fun and focused way.

Where time (or the lack thereof) is often a factor in driving us to eat unhealthy convenience foods, FARMS hopes to educate the community on quick and easy ways to create healthy dishes from local foods.  Through hands-on education, FARMS is building a market of educated consumers who are relearning the art of eating locally, healthfully, and with an openness to trying new things. FARMS will get local products into the hands of community members, not to mention cafeterias, offering them a fun opportunity to check out something new, and providing the skills necessary for incorporating local products into people’s lives. The work of FARMS also offers a boost to the local economy, providing midcoast farmers with the income they need to maintain their businesses and keep producing fresh organic foods to feed our community in a healthy, sustainable way.

FARMS is an awesome organization with community-and-earth-friendly goals that we can wholeheartedly get behind!  If you feel the same way, please consider helping them fund their Community Kitchen Project through their kickstarter.  Every little bit helps, and they will be working to raise the money they need to build the community kitchen over the next 24 days.

Check out a cool video of the Community Kitchen and why it has the potential to transform our community for the better here.

Earth Day 2012: Show Our Planet Some Love!

This Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day–the anniversary of what many consider to be the birth of the modern environmental movement. In 1970, Gaylord Nelson, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, announced the need for a “national teach-in on the environment” to be presented to the public through the media. The idea was spread far and wide, and it drew many people to support the cause of changing our gas-guzzling and environmentally unfriendly ways, through protests, education, and action.

As time has passed and we have seen the impacts of climate change grow increasingly dire, the need for environmental consciousness and action is greater than ever before. Earth day is a wonderful day to remember the importance of caring for our planet, if we’ve been busy caught up in the bustle of our own lives. It is a great day to start new habits, like using reusable shopping bags rather than plastic, or changing from incandescent to more energy-efficient CFL lightbulbs. Perhaps it is a day for planting a tree, physically getting your hands down in the dirt, or donating to an organization that will do the planting for you (the nature conservancy will plant a tree for a $1 donation). Or you can attend any number of environmental events to learn and take action (learn about some of these at the official earth day website).

However you choose to celebrate, we invite you to join us in considering (and hopefully acting upon) your individual impact on the planet, and what we can do to cause the least harm and maybe even some good to the world we live in and the people and animals that inhabit it. We all have the power to make a difference through small changes; imagine the impact when they all add up!

March 10: Tibetan National Uprising Day

March 10 is Tibetan National Uprising day, in which thousands of Tibetans and Tibet supporters will take to the streets to show their support for the cause of freeing Tibet from Chinese oppression. Other ways to get involved and show your support on this day or any other can be found Students for a Free Tibet International.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army took over Tibet by force in 1949, under the rule of Chairman Mao. In 1951, an “agreement” was passed, stating China’s sovereignty over Tibet but allowing the Tibetan government’s autonomy when it came to internal affairs. As time went on and China repeatedly violated this treaty, resistance to their rule grew.

In 1959, thousands of Tibetans came to Lhasa (the Capitol city) seeking refuge from the Chinese repression in their towns and villages. Despite government officials’ orders to disperse, the people refused to leave and the crowd grew larger and larger. On March 10, 1959, these Tibetans surrounded the Dalai Lama’s summer residence to protect their leader and demand the Chinese leave Tibet. As the protests intensified, Chinese troops responded with violence, and a full-on uprising ensued in the streets, with the mostly unarmed Tibetans fighting for their freedom against a finely tuned and well-armed army. The Dalai Lama fled to India, with the help of many Tibetan resistance fighters. Tens of thousands of Tibetans were killed and taken prisoner, while thousands more fled persecution by making the hazardous journey into exile in India.

“For the past 50 years, the Chinese government has done everything in its power to divide Tibetans and confuse the world about the issue. Tibet’s historical provinces of U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo have been cut up into the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the four Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu & Yunnan. At the same time, the Chinese authorities have tried to convince the international community that the majority of Tibetans are happy under Chinese rule and that it is only a privileged minority who agitate for independence.

But even a quick look at the history of the Tibetan people under Chinese occupation exposes the absurdity of this claim. In the 60 years since China invaded Tibet, Tibetans from all walks of life have sacrificed their lives to resist the occupation and restore Tibet’s freedom.” (Students for a Free Tibet)

Today, Tibet remains an occupied country with no freedom of speech, assembly, press, or religion. The Chinese government is determined to stifle any form of dissent by wiping out all traces of Tibetan national identity, including their language, social structure, monastic life, and Buddhism. Those who rebel are persecuted, sometimes fatally. Despite the inevitable backlash, many Tibetans are still protesting and fighting for their freedom. Over the past couple of years, Tibetan monks have been protesting by setting themselves on fire, spurring a violent crack down on Tibetan protesters by the Chinese government. You can see a BBC News report on this here.

If you think that this oppression needs to end, that the Tibetan people deserve freedom and independence, consider taking non-violent direct action or educating others on the Tibetan plight. Tibetan National Uprising Day on May 10th is great day to start!