Marching For Tibet
50th Anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising, 10 March 2009, Los Angeles
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2009 marked the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the fleeing of the Dalai Lama to India.

Tibetans around the world held rallies and peaceful demonstrations to bring attention to the continued and oppressive Chinese rule.

Los Angeles Friends of Tibet (LAFOT) and the Tibetan Association of Southern California (TASC) organized a march from Los Angeles City Hall to the Chinese Consulate three and a half miles away to bring attention to the suffering of Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese government.

Of course, Lisa and I had to go. This was an important day for human rights.  We had helped organize the event.  And...some were our friends.  There was no way to say no. I took the Metro, meeting Lisa on the train when I was almost there, and met up with everyone gathering in front of City Hall at 11:30am.


Hold your mouse over the photo to see the route taken.

Lhamo speaks to Channel 7 News, which aired our march from City Hall to the Chinese Consulate on the 5pm news later that day.

One of the press saw me talking to Lhamo before this interview.  She asked, "You know each other?"  I began to say yes, but before I could answer, she continued, "Is she your mother?"  In this lifetime, no.  But I would be proud to have her as a mother.  I value her ability to cut through the nonsense and speak her mind honestly, and wish more people would do that.

One of the monks leading a prayer on the lawn by City Hall.


I am the Chief Engineer and Official Photographer for The Tibet Connection.  I work with some friendly, talented, and committed people, Tibetans and non-Tibetans alike.

Each month, we feature news stories, interviews, documentaries and helpful insights. We seek out notable and intriguing guests and stories and provide an informative and engaging forum for discussion. We hope that our program helps listeners to understand the unique experience and legacy of Tibet and to provide a conduit between Tibet and the rest of the world.

Many years ago, I saw a film about Tibet at the Nuart. In the lobby, there were numerous pamphlets, including one from Los Angeles Friends of Tibet.  I picked one up.  I had it for several months.  One day, I decided to write a letter to contact them and see what they did.  I don't remember what I wrote exactly, but I wrote about how I had gone to the Indian Himalayas, had met some Tibetans, heard their stories about how their families were persecuted and fled Tibet, and that I interested in helping. 

Very shortly after I mailed the letter, a woman called me and said she was moved by my words, and told me of an upcoming LAFOT meeting. 

That person was Pema.

We were pleased at not only how many people showed up on a weekday, but also how much of the press also showed.

After the monks offered prayers, everyone shouted slogans about freeing Tibet.

One of the monks holding up a sign about March 10th.

James Otis, apparently a filmmaker and peace activist inspired by Gandhi, joined us on the march.

One of the Tibetan monks, holding a flag and kata (ceremonial silk scarf) in front of City Hall in Los Angeles.

At 12:30, we gathered in a line to begin our march from City Hall to the Chinese Consulate, about three and a half miles away.

Marching uphill towards the Disney Hall.

James Otis, here walking barefoot past Disney Hall, apparently is a collector, having several thousand Gandhi-related memorabilia, and created a furor when he decided to sell some of the few items Gandhi possessed at an auction. 

Otis claimed to be surprised, stating, "My intent never was to create any sort of anger or animosity towards the auction, it was the opposite: to promote Gandhi's words, actions, and to promote nonviolence in any way we can."

I didn't know at the time, but Otis had been arrested for civil disobedience numerous times. 

And he was going to be arrested again.

My new Tibetan friend, who smiles and almost always flashes peace signs every time he sees me, and approximately 100 other Tibetans and Tibet supporters marching on Grand Avenue toward the Chinese Consulate several miles away.

I've scarcely said a word to my new friend because he doesn't speak English.  But somehow we have this special connection, and always greet each other warmly at rallies, protests, and marches.

You'll see more photos of him as we march along.  And you'll be glad you did.

Crossing a bridge on Grand Avenue on our way to the Chinese Consulate, with Disney Hall in the distance.

Continuing downhill on Grand Avenue as the Tibetans continue to shout, urging Obama to support Tibet and for freedom from torture and persecution at the hands of the Chinese government.


Marching Tibetans eye a fresh juice stand.

Continuing to march along with, yes, the Statue of Liberty lady (right side), who shows up at just about every Tibet event...and even the Chinese New Year's Parade.

My new friend flashing a smile and a peace sign.  I'm not mentioning his name here for safety reasons, as I don't know whether he wants it mentioned or not. Many Tibetans have family back in Tibet, and some fear that their actions here may lead to consequences in Tibet.

Marching For Tibet - 50th Anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising, 2009
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