LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the power of photojournalism to expose social, economic and ecological injustice

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BELOW – Temuco, Chile: In April 2018, Mapuche Lonko (leader) Alberto Curamil [looking toward the back of the courtroom] was arrested on trumped up charges after he successfully stopped two hydro-electric dams. In 2019 he was awarded the coveted Goldman Environmental Prize. He was facing 50 years in prison for a crime for which there was an absolute absence of evidence connecting him to the events in question. On 13 December 2018 the Court of Temuco acquitted Curamíl of all charges. Photo: Orin Langelle/GJEP

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NEW PHOTO DOCUMENTARY WEBSITE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION

MORE DETAILS ON LAUNCH DATE AVAILABLE SOON 

BELOW – Temuco, Chile: A Mapuche man addresses a press conference concerning the wildfires that started in January 2017. It is estimated that eleven people were killed, 1500 houses destroyed, thousands displaced and almost 300,000 hectares acres decimated (2017). photo: Orin Langelle

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Environmental activist Steve Taylor says that a January 1988 freight-train derailment, near the evacuated town of Times Beach, Missouri (two miles east of Eureka), may have played a critical role in the cancellation of plans for radioactive waste shipments through the area.
Orin Langelle
Environmental activist Steve Taylor says that a January 1988 freight-train derailment, near the evacuated town of Times Beach, Missouri (two miles east of Eureka), may have played a critical role in the cancellation of plans for radioactive waste shipments through the area. 

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” at noon Monday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

When Missouri Rep. Doug Clemens (D-St. Ann) heard that President Biden’s recently passed infrastructure legislation included a $1 billion investment in a backlog of Superfund site cleanups, he was thrilled. Two of 49 sites across the U.S. that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified for accelerated attention as part of this first wave of funding are in Missouri.

But Clemens said the EPA’s plans in Missouri — which include volatile organic chemicals in soil and groundwater in the southwest St. Louis County municipality of Valley Park and the Ozark foothills town, Vienna — still fall short of what is needed in the region.

Cleanup of the Times Beach disaster, which involved use of a waste incinerator that itself drew citizen protests in the 1990s since the strategy released dioxin into the air, cost $200 million.
Provided By Steve Taylor
Cleanup of the Times Beach disaster, which involved use of a waste incinerator that itself drew citizen protests in the 1990s since the strategy released dioxin into the air, cost $200 million.

“We have a TCE [trichloroethylene] site not too far from where I live, in [my] neighboring district, off of Page Boulevard, which they have been remediating for decades,” Clemens said of the ongoing need. “We are sitting with areas in north St. Louis that have not begun remediation. … And it’s interesting how areas that are predominantly African American seem to be left out of the equation — that somehow life is not valued as high as it is in the suburbs.”

In its Dec. 17 announcement, the EPA noted that one in four Black and Hispanic Americans live within three miles of a Superfund site across the U.S. The release also said the EPA is “committed to carrying out this work in line with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative by advancing environmental justice and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of the Superfund cleanup process.”

Clemens said he hopes the new influx of funds can help ensure “things are equitable” going forward. Longtime St. Louis environmental activist Steve Taylor shares some of Clemens’ concerns, telling St. Louis on the Air he thinks there’s much more to be done in a region that has seen “decades of negligence” as well as little transparency.

“There’s a long legacy of contamination in this region,” said Taylor, who now works as the the press secretary for the Global Justice Ecology Project. “And EPA wants to get it off the books — wants to get it off the rolls and wants to clean up. But are the cleanups sufficient?”

On Monday’s showwe’ll hear more from Taylor, who will join an on-air conversation alongside Bruce Morrison, president of the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center. They’ll discuss some key Superfund sites in the St. Louis region, digging into what cleanups look like and why progress is often slow.

Do you have a question about one of the Superfund sites in our region, or about the long legacy of contamination? Tweet us (@STLonAir), send an email to [email protected] or share your thoughts via our St. Louis on the Air Facebook group, and help inform our coverage.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex HeuerEmily WoodburyEvie Hemphill, and Kayla Drake. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Apologies for not posting sooner, but I am on a much needed open-ended extended Sabbatical. I do not intend to post on this page until the Sabbatical is over. When i return I will be working on a new look for this outdated website. For additional information, please contact Anne Petermann <anne (at) globaljusticeecology.org> or contact Anne at +1.716.364.1188. Thank you – Orin Langelle

Photojournalist Orin Langelle takes a break by graffiti celebrating Victor Jara in Santiago, Chile. Langelle has been photographing the frontlines of the peoples rebellion in Chile. The musician Jara, a Chilean hero, was murdered by the regime of dictator Augusto Pinochet. photo: Petermann/GJEP

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Apologies for not posting sooner, but I am on a much needed open-ended extended Sabbatical. I do not intend to post on this page until the Sabbatical is over. When i return I will be working on a new look for this outdated website. For additional information, please contact Anne Petermann <anne (at) globaljusticeecology.org> or contact Anne at +1.716.364.1188. Thank you – Orin Langelle

Photojournalist Orin Langelle takes a break by graffiti celebrating Victor Jara in Santiago, Chile. Langelle has been photographing the frontlines of the peoples rebellion in Chile. The musician Jara, a Chilean hero, was murdered by the regime of dictator Augusto Pinochet. photo: Petermann/GJEP

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Note: Sadly my scanner refused to work today and scan more of the photos from this period in history. History can be a revolutionary teacher. Since this is a presidential election year, please see the end of this essay for a quote from Mumia Abu-Jamal on what elections mean.- Orin Langelle

Two protesters slammed to the asphalt by police as they tried to block President Bill Clinton and his motorcade from attending the National Governor’s Association conference in the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington, VT – Photo: Langelle (1995)

Burlington, VT- National Governors’ Conference July 28-Aug 1, 1995

Four days of militant protest in defense of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

 

Governor Ridge Welcoming Committee

All photos by Orin Langelle (1995)

Burlington, VT – A coalition of groups demonstrated against the impending execution of award-winning journalist and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal during the National Governor’s Association conference held in that city. The militant protests spanned five days from July 28th to August 1st, and were directed at Pennsylvania’s then Governor Tom Ridge, who signed the death warrant for Jamal.  Jamal was to be executed August 17, 1995.  Ultimately the death warrant was rescinded and Abu-Jamal is still alive.  Ridge later became the Director of Homeland Security after September 11, 2001.

The convener of the conference, VT Governor Howard Dean went on to run for president, but that’s another story…

Burlington was not the only city that erupted in defense of Abu-Jamal. Protests were international.

Many suffer from the induced historical amnesia caused by the corporate press, incessant advertising and so on.  In an effort to counter that collective amnesia, and in time for the Northeast Governor’s Conference and protests this weekend in Burlington, VT,  we are providing this photo of the month from the 1995 National Governor’s Association conference protests, plus below are a few excerpts from Refuse and Resist (in their own words) that describe in detail the events that occurred over those 5 days of militant protest.

[I could not find the link for this post but it is an authentic and was covered on the ground]

“We not only rained on the Governors’ Conference parade,” said Deb Ormsbee, “we pissed on it!” Ormsbee, of the Burlington Solidarity Coalition, was one of the 8 arrested on Monday’s street blockade in front of the Sheraton hotel where President Clinton addressed the governors. There were a total of 24 arrests by Mumia supporters during the four day conference. All 24 arrestees are out of custody from the state.

From Refuse and Resist:

Burlington, VT, Thursday, July 28, 1995 —

…Bishop Angell of the Catholic Diocese of Burlington issued a press release asking Pennsylvania Governor Ridge to rescind the warrant of execution of the four men scheduled for death in August. Bishop Angell joined Philadelphia Cardinal Bevilacqua who strongly encouraged Ridge to not allow the imposition of the death penalty.

 

Breakfast was spoiled when the governors arrived at the Ethan Allen Homestead, named after Ethan Allen, who stole Abenaki Indigenous Peoples’ land in the 1700’s

 

Friday, July 29, 1995

Today, Saturday, July 29, there was a low-key opening to the National Governors Convention in the small liberal city of Burlington, Vermont, but Mumia supporters have already taken to the streets to show their anger to governor Ridge.

Two women Mumia supporters breached Sheraton hotel security and set foot in the Emerald Ballroom where a plenary session of the Governors’ Conference was taking place on July 29. The women were escorted out shouting, “Free Mumia Now!”

Other clandestine activities occurred that the Mumia Solidarity Coalition were not privy to or involved with during the four days of militant action here. Saturday morning’s breakfast was spoiled when the governors arrived at the Ethan Allen Homestead; named after Vermont’s first famous racist, Ethan Allen, who blatantly stole Abenaki indigenous peoples’ land in the 1700’s. The museum garage was spray painted with numerous slogans including, “Fuck You Gov Tom Ridge, Ridge is a racist”, and “FREE MUMIA.” Vermont Governor Howard Dean called the graffiti, “an embarrassment to the state.” Other reports came in that the electric buses transporting the governors at various times were also egged.

Words and image of the rage against a system of death

 

 

 

 

In a park by a pretty lake, the Progressive Coalition (surely everyone out there knows Bernie Sanders? the so-called “socialist” (NOT!) congressman from Vermont) organized an alternative event called the People’s Conference for Economic Democracy. There were lots of speakers and a parade of 2,000 people through the city. This march was led by a theatre group with an awesome big “Free Mumia!” banner.

Peter Schumann with Bread and Puppet lead the march. Schumann is the founder and director of the Bread & Puppet Theater

At the back of the march, there was a bloc of 200 Mumia supporters. Despite being a wicked hot day (ouch! I feel the sunburn as I type!) the mood was good. The Mumia bloc led a diversion near the end of the march and went right to the front doors of the Radisson Hotel where the governors and their families and staff are mostly staying. Other folks joined in and there was an awesome crowd of like 300 people chanting really loud stuff and a very nervous line of Vermont police and hotel staff keeping people out. Lots of media, too, like C-SPAN and CNN and others. Eventually people ended the hotel siege feeling really good. (The police dogs showed up after we had already left.)

In the evening, actions continued as 100 Mumia supporters took to the streets and headed down to the lakefront where the governors were having a nice dinner. Police set up barricades, so people just took over the streets and caused traffic havoc. Some buses of important people got snarled, but eventually made it in by another entrance. This whole deal lasted in the streets for about two hours. The cops threatened to intervene, but didn’t. Then we went back to the downtown shopping street where there was a tent set up for a nice dinner for the staff people, complete with crappy Vermont country music. We responded with newspaper boxes used for a metal jam and other general noise making. All the people trying to enjoy their quaint evening looked less than happy. As did the cops.

Oh yeah, while we were messing up evening traffic, a group of four people got onto the New York-Vermont ferry boat which comes into port right next to the boathouse where the governors were dining and unfurled a huge “Free Mumia!” banner which was viewed by all the governors. Hopefully Ridge saw this! These people were not arrested and were simply escorted away after getting off the boat. They even kept the banner! Good job!

All in all, a really spirited day. Our goal today was to be loud, make our presence known, and come away feeling good. I think that was all accomplished. The action at the hotel was cool, the only bummer being the realization that if a few hundred more people could have mobilized for this, it would have been amazing. There aren’t that many cops, and they aren’t too sure how to handle an angry demo. Oh well! Big thanks to all the comrades that did come, from New Jersey, Maine, Pennsylvania, Canada…lots of places!

So, no arrests today, but tomorrow, Sunday, July 30 is the day we are aiming for. With hopefully more people coming into town, we will march from downtown up to the Sheraton Hotel where the governors will be meeting. People are very determined to make their presence known! Mumia’s name was definitely heard all around town all day long today, and tomorrow should be even better.

 

[excerpted from several separate reports]

July 30 

15 protestors were arrested today in a spirited demonstration against the planned execution of prize-winning journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose case has become an international cause celebre. This was the second day of demonstrations in Burlington for Jamal that occurred during the National Governor’s Association annual conference. Some 150 demonstrators assembled outside the Sheraton Hotel to confront Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.

One of the marches for Mumia that week in Burlington

The protest began with a march up Main Street from Burlington’s City Hall Park to the Sheraton. Protestors, traveling from St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York, Montreal, Ontario and Boston, said that they had come to raise awareness of the ‘racist nature’ of Jamal’s case, who is scheduled to be executed on August 17th. “This is a political lynching,” said protestor Robert Newmark of New York City. “The evidence shows that Mumia is innocent and that he is being targeted for political activities.” Jamal was a leader of the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia.

As the boisterous crowd assembled outside the Sheraton, where the Governors were meeting, speeches were made and chants were shouted like “Stop the execution. Free Mumia Now!” Protestors ripped down police barricades and continually pressed closer to the Sheraton. A group of fifteen, including ten Canadians, suddenly surged over a row of hedges and through police lines in an attempt to gain access to the hotel. Police tackled and arrested the protestors, who were charged with unlawful trespass. ” We are committed to freeing Jamal by any means necessary,” said arrested protestor Jack Winston of Calias, Vermont. “This is just the beginning of a movement that is growing by leaps and bounds.”

Organizers said the demonstrations would continue through the end of the National Governors Association Tuesday, August 1.

 

July 31

Seven law officers, one protester

During Clinton’s downtown visit and tour of Burlington on July 31, several contigents of Mumia supporters vocally were on hand catching the president’s eye. One protester came within a few feet of the president, yelling Mumia slogans. The pristine image of Burlington’s business district mandated by Mayor Peter Clavelle was spoiled. Incidentally, Clavelle, who purports to be the mayor of “the People’s Republic of Burlington” refused Mumia Solidarity Coalition requests to allow pro Mumia supporters to camp in the city’s parks.

Support and legal aid for jailed protesters were overwhelming. At all times during the detentions legal and support teams were present; as were packing the courtrooms during the arraignments.

On July 31, when eight arrestees were being held in South Burlington’s Fire Station, word came that the governors were being transported via bus near the Fire House to Shelburne Farms for a “Vermont Tasting.” Jail support became a mobile protest waving signs and yelling at the cringing governors in the buses. Far from that legal protest, it was reported that as the buses neared Shelburne Farms, they were pelted by eggs.

 

August 1

Protest for Mumia Abu-Jamal, during the final day of the Governors’ Conference, was taken to a newer height. “Come on down or we’ll come up and take you down,” shouted a cop with bullhorn up to a climber perched 200 feet above on the University of Vermont water tower. On that command a 20 by 40 foot banner was unfurled proclaiming FREE MUMIA.

The banner was in full view of the Sheraton hotel where the governors, their aides and corporate sponsors were meeting. The FREE MUMIA banner was up from 8 am to 1:30 pm when the climber was taken into custody by the authorities at the official closing of the Governors’ Conference.

The banner hanging was preceded by three days of militant street demonstrations in opposition to the planned execution of black revolutionary award-winning journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal. The total four days of protest embarrassed the Governors’ Conference and succeeded in gaining media attention for Mumia’s plight.

“We not only rained on the Governors’ Conference parade,” said Deb Ormsbee, “we pissed on it!” Ormsbee, of the Burlington Solidarity Coalition, was one of the 8 arrested on Monday’s street blockade in front of the Sheraton hotel where President Clinton addressed the governors. There were a total of 24 arrests by Mumia supporters during the four day conference. All 24 arrestees are out of custody from the state.

 

the Ethan Allen Homestead; named after Vermont’s first famous racist, Ethan Allen

 

All of the above happened 25 years ago.

 

Final thoughts of this post – Prior to the Barack Obama Presidency, Mumia Abu-Jamal shares his analysis:

“Politics is the art of making people believe that they are in power when, in fact, they have none. It is a measure of how dire the hour that they’ve passed the keys of the kingdom to a Black man…. With the nation’s manufacturing base also a thing of history, amid the socioeconomic wreckage of globalization, with foreign affairs in shambles, the rulers reach for a pretty brown face to front for the Empire. Real change that you could believe in would be an end to Empire and an end to wars for corporate greed, not just a change in the shade of the political managers. That change, I’m afraid, is still to come.”

 

 

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Tear gas explodes on the streets of Santiago, Chile. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Orin Langelle is a documentary photographer and activist who studied communications in St. Louis, MO and photography at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan. He co-founded Global Justice Ecology Project  in 2003. He continues today as  Strategic Communications Director  and photographer. Langelle previously served as Media Director for Global Forest Coalition. In 2000 he co-founded the first campaign to stop GE trees and in 2014 co-founded the new Campaign to STOP GE Trees.

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Chile: Peoples’ Uprising Exhibit status as of 7 July 2020

The Gallery will be issuing a press release forthcoming about the above exhibit that postponed the 3 April opening reception and subsequent show due to COVID-19.

Photos and videos were shot in November and December of 2019 in the ongoing Peoples’ Uprising in Chile. From Santiago and Temuco’s streets to the Indigenous Mapuche land occupations in the communities of Liempi Colipi and Quilape Lopez, Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle had the honor of being part of the uprising as documentarians.

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