Close the Camps: Stronger Together

On July 12, 2019  thousands of people took to the streets nationwide as part of a national call to action to close the refugee and migrant concentration camps. Leaders expressed the need to not only continue to share with the public the inhumane treatment of adults and children in the camps, but to also focus efforts on coming together, taking action and creating solutions. 

Words and Photographs by Raquel Natalicchio , San Ysidro, CA - TIjuana, MX -  July, 12 2019

Thousands of people take to the streets in San Ysidro, CA as part of a national call to action to close the concentration camps.

Thousands of people take to the streets in San Ysidro, CA as part of a national call to action to close the concentration camps.

San Ysidro, CA stands as the last district within the San Diego County before reaching the Mexican Border and was also the host of the largest rally and march in the National call to action to Close the Concentration Camps. This was organized by the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps in conjunction with Lights for Liberty, both organizations a growing network of rights groups, social justice activists and organizations, and concerned individuals who have come together to demand the closure of the migrant and refugee concentration camps.

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The rally began by acknowledging being on Kumeyaay traditional territory and thanking the Kumeyaay Nation for welcoming this event to their sacred land. A blessing and welcoming ceremony was led by Kumeyaay elders, bird singers and a danza Azteca group, shining a light on the unity and strength of the spirit of native people that comes from keeping their traditional ceremonies alive. 

Kumeyaay elder Stan Rodriguez stood up to talk to the thousands gathered, saying:

“When we treat people with respect, we build love and respect for others, for ourselves. What were doing here today, is not to teach tolerance. Tolerance is not what we’re looking for. You can tolerate a mosquito bite or the weather. Im talking about celebration of diversity. Of all of us. To truly come together and love each other.” 

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Elder Stan alongside other elders and members of the Kumeyaay Nation stood at the forefront of the march to the Mexican border in which thousands followed. Streets were shut down for miles while people joined in from the streets and cars honked in solidarity.

The march ended at the Mexican border crossing with a vigil led by Lights for Liberty to voice demands for justice and to tell the stories of those impacted by the detention centers . Speakers went on to urge the necessity to get involved, take action through all avenues. From supporting organizations that offer supplies, sponsorship and legal aid to migrants and refugees, to demanding policy reform around immigration and border patrol. 

So what can you do now? How do you get involved? 

There are several organizations working tirelessly in several avenues in support of migrants and refugees. One such example is an organization ran by Bertha “Birdie” Gutierrez called- Bridge of Love Across the Border-

Bertha, known as “Birdie” is the incredible force that organizes sending supplies across the Mexican border to shelters and eateries hosting thousands of refugees and migrants. Her organization is fueled by donations and volunteers from people nationwide. I followed a generous donation from the Los Angeles LGBT Center across the border to Tijuana. Marine Corp. Veteran Jamal Johnson, came down from Philadelphia to support those affected by the crisis at our border by volunteering to drive supplies across the border to a shelter in Tijuana, MX. Comedor Contra Viento y Marea was the destination for those supplies and is one of the few eateries that provides two free meals a day, supplies like toiletries and clothes and a medical tent that opens once a day for check ups.

My parents taught me that we need to take care of each other. It doesn’t matter who it is. It’s a way of life for us.
— Bertha Birdie Gutierrez

Migrants and refugees spend time volunteering in these shelters and eateries, many of them families. Alexis is a young man of 19 that fled an extremely violent Honduras to the US seeking refuge. He was detained and spent 4 months being transferred around through several detention centers, many of which he said he was put in “Hieleras” meaning “ Ice box” . Hieleras are notorious for extreme over crowding and inhumanely cold conditions. Alex explained he had nothing but one blanket for his duration of his detention. No showers. No water, other than the toilet bowls and maybe sinks if they worked. When getting into the details of the conditions, Alex became emotional and asked if he could not talk about that part. Alex’s trauma was very clear but nonetheless he came back to Tijuana, waiting for an opportunity to receive asylum. Alex spends his time volunteering at the shelters and eateries, and loves playing soccer with his friends.

It is important that we recognize that ‘migrants’ and ‘refugees’ are first and foremost HUMANS, People. People like you and me with families, hobbies, loves, passions, joys, pains, fears and all the things that connect us in being human. Building compassion will inspire action.

Below is a list of organizations that you can get started with to be involved. Please consider supporting by donating time or resources. Change will take all of us because we are Stronger Together! #CloseTheCamps




Vyal One X RNP

Made a quick video cruising in East Los Angeles with artist Vyal One in his beautiful 76 Monte Carlo. To beautiful days in Sunny LA ! #RNPExplores

East LA cruisin with VYAL One in his 76 Monte Carlo Video: Raquel Natalicchio Photography - @RockMyworldRocky - www.raquelnatalicchio.com Music: Organ Mantra by The Myrrors

Black Light King Graffiti Video " Underworld" !

Made a video of DTLA graffiti artist Black Light King while he added black light paint to one of his recent murals inspired by artist Alex Gray and Band ‘Tool’. It was an adventure watching the night and mural come alive.

Art: Black Light King
Video: Raquel Natalicchio Photography (RNP)
Music: Sebastian Rivera + Randy Garcia

Mural: Black Light King - @Blacklightking - www.blacklightking.com Video: Raquel Natalicchio Photography - @Rockmyworldrocky - www.raquelnatalicchio.com Music: @MrSebs + @_Randym

Featured in PELEA!

So excited and honored to be featured in PELEA’s latest article. PELEA is a digital platform dedicated to telling stories about artists, athletes and people who fight for what they believe in. In this article I talk about what it has been like as a woman to become a photographer, journalist and teaching artist.

"Los Ángeles tiene algo que inspira. Las personas vienen aquí para alcanzar sus sueños, así que es una ciudad en la que pasa cualquier cosa”. 

Translated: “ Los Angeles has something that inspires. People come here to make their dreams come true, so its a place where anything can and does happen. “

📷 CLICK HERE to read the full article! 📷

Raquel Natalicchio Featured in PELEA

May Day March!

May 1st we marched in solidarity with all the workers in this country, who work to give us the luxuries we enjoy. This year the march was low in numbers, but extraordinarily strong in heart. Those at the march today were each unique and resilient people. They raised their voice and fists in demand for this nation to no longer look away from the discrimination, racism and inequality they suffer from. They make a stand for every person who works to make this country go regardless where they are from in the world. We have the power to create a world full of equality, peace and love, and only us. Power to the People! Happy International Workers Day!


My photo project 'Light Up LA' will be glowing up LA's Chocolate and Art Show next Friday ! Come soak in an art and music fueled night with me!  CLICK HERE for tickets and event info.

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Road Trip nation goes to Ingram State Tech College

Its been a week since the last day of my second tour with @roadtripnation and as I reflect on this journey I am overflowing with gratitude from the growth, opportunities and magic I’ve experienced. Today one of the roadies asked me what is the moment that has stood out the most from my tours, and I can whole heartedly say that it was doing an event in Alabama at Ingram State Tech College that also happened to be a Prison.

Although in the beginning there were thoughts racing through my mind like “What can I possible say to someone who’s been in prison for years that can be inspiring and motivating? How do I relate to inmates raging in age from 20-60? “ But as soon as I stepped into the college building, I felt like I was in a “free world” ( as they call everything that’s outside of the prison) college. Staff referred to each individual as a student, I never heard the term inmate.

As the students poured in and the presentation went on, they were all engaged, respectful and most of all willing to open up to us and their peers. I realized this might have been the first time for a lot of them that someone was asking them, what do you love to do? How do you think you can get to that? And more importantly encouraging them to drop the disempowering noise and go for it! This may have been a moment for many in which it was just about them, as humans, not inmates. I felt the sense of pride and emotion that came over those who chose to stand up, say their name instead of their inmate number and share what their true passions and goals were. I made a connection between the high school students we had been visiting and the inmates, they all heard noise, they all had passions, and they all wanted to follow their dreams. That’s what we were their to do, tell them that no matter where you are in life, you can make that happen, you just have to believe in yourself and go for it.

They later on gave us a tour of their workshops, from welding and carpentry to upholstery and electrical, each jumping at the opportunity to geek out with us and show us what they are learning and what they had created. Before we left, two students ran up to us, one handing us a fish made of scrap metal that he welded himself, and the other a bag full of pillows that they had made in the upholstery class for us to take with us. Their sincere gratitude, excitement and genuine inspiration filled me with joy, compassion and hope in humanity.

The mission of this college is to inspire, nurture and empower the resilient human spirit of inmates by providing immediate and lasting solutions, one trade and one student at a time. Every student I met not only expressed their hope for their future but that of the world. Eliminating the prejudice that is carried about people who have been incarcerated and empowering these communities, no matter their circumstances, is vital to evolving human kind with compassion for a better world to be tangible in our lifetime. 💪🏼💗

Featured by VoyageLA Magazine !

So excited to be featured by VoyageLA Magazine as part of their ‘Thought Provokers’ series. I’m extremely grateful to have been selected by people who’s goal is to empower hard-working, inspiring artists to tell their stories authentically and in their own words, while offering a platform to be seen for new opportunities! Check out my feature and the full list of Thought Provokers and get inspired! CLICK HERE! 💪🏼❤️📸

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RNP X Vans Custom Culture! <3 <3 <3

So excited to ship out these awesome Custom Vans with one of my photos from DTLA ! It’s never too early to start Christmas Shopping! Check out more styles Here! • Because these are custom it will take up to 3 weeks to ship out, so don’t wait! • 📸👣😍🖤

Visited West Point Military Academy!

Had the amazing opportunity to visit West Point Military Academy and get a private tour from a Cadet. The campus was rich in history and beautiful, but the most memorable part happened when we entered the campus cathedral built in 1910. If you know me, you know I have an insatiable curiosity for hidden places. While wandering inside the cathedral, I noticed a cracked open door in the corner and saw stairs that led up to the top of the cathedral, but there was a locked gate blocking the climb. There happened to be a man dusting off a table nearby and we asked him what led up the stairs. He looked up wide eyed with a smile that lit up the room and said, would you like to see? My eyes matched his and I quickly said YES! His name was John and he was a caretaker of the Cathedral. His passionate enthusiasm gave us a one of a kind insight into details of the cathedral, from the wood carvings, crypt, tunnels below, 77 steps up the bell tower, walking over the enclosed roof, to playing amazing grace for us on the bells in the bell room. Getting to know him and his passion for his work was inspiring and reminds me to remain curious, not only about places but about people. ⛪️✨ #rnpexplores #westpointmilitaryacademy

On The Road Again with Road Trip Nation!

This week I started my second road trip with @roadtripnation and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m so proud to be a part of a team with a mission to inspire students and people around the world to define their own road in life and to pursue what they love. This time we will be on the road for two months driving down the east coast starting in Rhode Island - Boston - NYC - Philadelphia - Washington DC - Tennessee - New Orleans & Texas. Stay posted on my instagram @Rockmyworldrocky for adventure pix & stories.


Live Interview with Mindful Models!

Here is the full live interview with Mindful Models from their Soul Talk Series! 

 

Mindful Models is a social movement that promotes emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing in the modeling industry.

VISION - We envision an empowered, inspired and joyful world made up of creative individuals committed to building a sustainable future for humanity.  

MISSION - To bring mindfulness into the fashion, modeling and entertainment industries and create a community that is nurturing and supportive. 

To learn more about Mindful Models, CLICK HERE!

On the Road with Road Trip Nation!

Six weeks ago I set out on an adventure to tour the country, living in a giant green RV with three other roadies and a mission to inspire students to define their own roads in life. We drove from California-Oregon-Washington-Montana-North Dakota-Minnesota-Wisconsin, ending in Chicago,Illinois.

We explored the cities and nature in every state, but most importantly we spoke at high schools and community colleges with the intention to inspire and motivate students to build their life according to their real interests and passions. At first public speaking to a room full of students wasn’t easy, but I quickly realized that when showing up with complete authenticity and sharing my own journey it just became a conversation. No matter what our circumstances are, if we are dedicated, focused and believe in ourselves, we will have created a life we love that is inspiring for ourselves and those around us. It’s unbelievably hard to describe the trip in its entirety, from the roadies that became my family to the students that became fuel for my own inspiration, but I will say this, hope for a brighter future is not only alive but strongly taking form.

I am so grateful to have been a part of this journey and for all the beautiful lessons and magic I have witnessed. I’ve not only become more compassionate but a more active listener, having to constantly adapt to different demographics and kinds of students, really put myself in check as to what am I communicating and how can I communicate better, making me not only a better teacher but a better student.

Thank you so much @roadtripnation , finding you was like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Thank you for your hard work and for getting this message out on the road, where it matters most. We end our presentations with a final piece of advice like our founders asked of the leaders they interviewed, which propelled this movement.

My last piece of advice is:Just be you, know that your being seen, loved, inspired and inspiring, because your you. World peace is no more than you, it’s in your heart, it’s in your mind, it’s everything inside of you and so world peace is here, it’s happening now, through you. So be World Peace.

'Spray For Peace' Book Release Show!

To think this started out as an idea while doing a walk through of the space, and to see it now standing tall and alive, re affirms to me that anything is possible. With the right team and attitude you can create your wildest dreams. After months of planning, organizing, building, hauling, buffing, assembling and showing, I had to take a moment inside to admire all that hard work so many people and myself put into it. We tore it down that same night, and even though the time this installation was up felt brief, its intention of being a part of something that was inspiring was accomplished and with that I feel accomplished. Thank you to every person who put time and love into this project. 💗💪🏼💗 #sprayforPEACE  

Best in Show for Art House NYC!

So excited to announce I was selected as Best in Show by Art House NYC for Frieze Week in NYC!

The image below was selected as part of a group show with the them " Peace de Resistance", out of the many talented artists along side me exhibiting I am so honored to have been selected. Thank you Art House NYC !