The amazing contributions to the actions and projects we support by countless people are too numerous to adequately convey appreciation for. Backbone is immensely grateful to the many passionate and gifted collaborators who share in our vision and so selflessly offer a plethora of their time and talents. Out of the sight of the cameras and behind the scenes, it is the larger family of Team Backbone that propels the work forward, animates our widely shared aspirations, and it’s their deep investment and joyful hopefulness that gives the work so much heart. Their courage to step into their power and move beyond cynicism continues to be a fountain of inspiration to us and those who witness the colorful and beauty-infused actions we pull off.
Take a peak below at a tiny sliver of the people who deserve so much praise, admiration and spotlight. If you are inspired by their contributions, join them and others who want to manifest positive change with creativity and joy! Connect with us HERE.
Rod Tharp and Susan McRae
Rod connected with Backbone in NC at the Bank of America shareholders meetings where we organized students to dress in their graduation gowns dragging a 11' debt ball to close down the streets. Rod was excited by our Guerrilla Light Projection tactic and began taking his experience as a carpenter and using that skill set towards the creation of imagery. Although he may be retired, whenever he's not sailing he's building banners, design props, and organizing actions to confront the climate crisis with creativity and beauty. Rod has been innovating new inflatable imagery designs making a fan driven inflatable globe of his own complete with flames below that read "fossil fuels are fueling the climate crisis" and a massive inflatable exploding oil train on wheels. In addition to helping us with countless mobilizations and building pallets and shelves for our warehouse Rod has been successfully testing out Kite-powered bannering including welcoming the polar pioneer drilling rig to Seattle with a Save the Arctic banner. Recently Rod organized the water-based People's Climate Fleet to photobomb the PGA with a giant banner that read "Save The Climate" and "No Oil Trains" strung across two sailboats.
Danny O'Brien practically works full-time stoking excitement for movement-building and artful activism bottom-lining Backbone's social media presence. He believes deeply in the power of people rising up to pull the reigns away from oligarchs and crony capitalists and that ordinary people can seize their potential to manifest the positive change we all yearn for. His daughter was instrumental to organizing the U.S. Day of Rage which became the Occupy Movement and was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the NDAA. Since then Danny has been broadcasting bold actions of people across the country and raising the profile of crucially important issues and actions in the region. Danny has had diverse experiences as an Army Veteran, hockey trainer, labor union organizer, para legal for the City of Seattle, Boardmember and Assistant producer for 9 years at the Moisture Festival Comedy Varieté, a Doctorate of Magnificent Actual Experiences at the School of Hard Knocks and has interests in graphic design, motorcycles, environmental protection, campaign finance reform, regulation of Wall St., comedy, and Rebellion and Insurrection.
Laura connected with Backbone 1st volunteering at our Localize This! Action Camp. Laura has made her activism a family affair encouraging her daughter Tobin to get involved who's humor and talents are a wonderful contribution. Laura is a gifted semesters not only using her creative talents for her own business but also to sew giant inflatable pairs off buttocks, banners, puppets and more. In addition to helping with our annual Strawberry Festival parade, managing our warehouse, Laura is often our "go-to" for last-minute building and painting of giant banners. She painted the 30ft banner that was deployed off the top floor of the United States Trade Representative's offices reading "Stop The TPP A Global Corporate Coup Against People & the Planet." That action earned the commentary from the Washington Post calling it "as pure guerrilla theater, the noontime demonstration could rank among the best ever." Recently she almost single-handedly repurposed a floating banner against Shell's Arctic destruction to read "FREE THE SNAKE" in 10ft tall letters in support of removing dams threatening the extinction of Salmon.