Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tsetan

Tsetan is 35; he was born in Eastern Kham. He studied in a monastery for several years before coming to India; it was his hope to receive a more thorough education at the monastery in Southern India.  His initial walk from his monastery to the capitol city of Lhasa took 15 days to walk, after finding a guide; it was a 13-day walk to the reception center in Nepal.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Malefice's Dale Butler for Animals

Name: Dale Butler

What is your job?
I'm the singer of British metal band Malefice

What charity do you support – and how?
PETA, we've had these guys down at our London shows in the past and let them set up a stand next to our merch to increase awareness in the metal community!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dallas Rocky Mortensen: Our Willingness to Act

Name: Dallas Rocky Mortensen

What is your job? Founder/Designer of Wooden Coat NY

What social causes are most important to you? Developmentally challenged children in our communities and our willingness to act.

What charities do you support – and how?Special Olympics and Autism Speaks

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Me & Ro's Designs for Good

Name: Robin Renzi

What is your job?
 I am a jewelry designer in NYC.

What social causes are most important to you?
 I would say children, women, the arts and education.

What charities do you support – and how?
 I support the charities below via my company Me&Ro, by donating 100 percent of the net proceeds from the sales of jewelry I have designed for each charity.

The Tibet Fund was the first charity pendant we created in 1999! Since then we have created some other charity pieces as well including:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

David Glavind: Climbing Everest for Himalayan Natives

Name: David Glavind
What is your job? I am a Blacksmith , and also work for the largest Outdoor Sporting Goods retailer in Canada
What social causes are most important to you? The social causes closest to my heart are the plight of Native Americans here on this continent, and the plight of the Tibetan people and others who live in the Himalayan region, who have lived under Chinese rule since the 50’s.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Live From Occupy Wall Street: Gorilla Biscuits' Arthur Smilios

Name: Arthur Smilios

What is your job? Associate Editor; bassist for Gorilla Biscuits, CIV and Walter Schreifels Band

What social causes are most important to you?
 Anything in pursuit of justice for all forms of life, be they human or non-human. I do activism, in many forms, trying to dismantle the disease that is capitalism and replace it with true democracy; with a system that doesn’t commodify life and places people over profit. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oh, Sleeper: Victory in life

Name: Shane Blay

What is your job? Guitarist/Singer for the band Oh, Sleeper

What social causes are most important to you? Anything that promotes victory in your own life.

What charities do you support – and how?

I support some Non-profit orgs like To Write Love On Her Arms and SteadFast Modesty.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lyon Fine Jewelry: Designing For Equality

Name: Lauren Bedford Russell

What is your job? I am the Founder and Designer of Lyon Fine Jewelry.  

I utilize a combination of precious metals and flawless gemstones to create distinctive black jewelry pieces for all genders. These signature bold designs are paired with gorgeous and conflict free black diamonds, black jade and black rhodium-plated silver and gold to achieve a unique, elegant and urban collection. I find inspiration for my avant-garde signature jewelry designs in a variety of familiar things, from a vintage leather jacket to memories of my travels around the world.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Marvin Malzahn for Starlight Children's Foundation

Name: Marvin Malzahn

What is your job? Photographer

What social causes are most important to you? Children, they are our future.

What charity do you support – and how?
Starlight Children’s Foundation. Our book, Tattoo Stories, donates 40% of each book sold to help seriously ill children and their families in need.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jeremy Wagner: Supporting Regional Charities

Name: Jeremy Wagner

What is your job? Full-time novelist

What social causes are most important to you? Preservation of our natural environment, fundamental human rights, health.

What charities do you support – and how? My wife and I currently support Save-A-Pet which is a local, no-kill shelter that promotes the humane treatment of animals and we also give to a local charity called Pioneer Center, which provides direct services to more than 2,500 individuals who are in need—including: the homeless, youth in need, disabled people, sexual assault victims and more. How do we help? We help by donating six-figures annually to these respective charities.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tattoos of Tibetan Ex-political Prisoners: Pasang D.


Pasang Dorjee was arrested in 1993 and placed in a forced labor camp near Chengdu. A monk at that time, he hung up Tibetan flags, and handed out pamphlets, calling for China to leave Tibet, for the release of political prisoners and the release of the Panchen Lama. 

In 1996, after the Chinese abducted the 11th Panchen Lama, the government appointed their own ‘fake lama.’ In attempt to consecrate this, the Chinese government wanted to pay to host a ceremony for their puppet lama at Kardze Monastery. Dorjee was arrested on April 2, 1996 for putting up posters in the monastery saying they did not want Chinese money.

Dorjee has his tattoo done while in prison in Mong County in Ngaba Prefecture. It originally read ‘Bhod Rangzen’ or Independence for Tibet – he did it to show his dedication to Tibet, and the Dalai Lama. It was done using a needle wrapped in thread, soaked in the ink used to print Lung Ta (prayer flags). Other prisoners told him that if the senior guards caught him doing the tattoo, he would face large problems including torture and an extended sentence. When the guards ultimately saw the tattoo, they asked its meaning (they couldn’t read Tibetan), Dorjee replied it was the name of someone he loved. Dorjee says there were lots of prisoners with tattoos, often the guards find tattooed people intimidating, but this was not his aim.

After Dorjee was released on April 1, 2002, he was constantly under surveillance, could not attend social activities, and had to report to the police station weekly. This made life almost impossible, and he saw escape to India as his only option.

In October, he escaped to Lhasa, but was detained in Shigatse for five days. When the police searched him, they found hi prison release papers, and returned him to his hometown of Kardze; he was imprisoned again for seven months, and given a fine of 40,000 yuan ($5,900). During this sentence, the police would strip him, and pour water over him in the winter. He made ink from a burnt candlewick, and over the course of several days, used a needle and thread to add several letters into is tattoo, changing the meaning to ‘fighter for the land of the snows.’

Upon his release, he learned his father had died, and spent a year at home with his family. During that year, he was detained again on a false accusation, and deprived of sleep for six straight days during the interrogation.

Dorjee escaped again, he made it to Lhasa, and then to Nari, but in Nari he fell seriously ill. He went to a doctor, who saw his tattoo and reported him to local police. The local police again could not read Tibetan, and he was released after one day. Dorjee finally reach Dharamsala, India in December 2005, after a month-long walk over the Himalayas.

Today, he says he wants to thank those who recognize that Tibet is not, nor has it ever been, a part of China, and those who continue to fight for Tibet’s independence.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mayhem Festival's John Reese: Metal of Honor

Name:  John Reese

What is your job? Mayhem Festival Tour Producer

What social causes are most important to you? Those pertaining to children's needs and our military
How do you support these?
This year on Mayhem we have an awareness program aimed at the many needs our military men and women face called Metal of Honor. The Pathway Home is a residential home for men suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Hope for the Warriors serves the many needs military families face. IAVA has on onsite presence at each show to inform military attendee's on a number of topics and aid.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sharon Gannon for Animal Rights and Environmentalism

Sharon Gannon, founder of Jivamukti Yoga

What is your job?
To contribute in some small way to the happiness and liberation of others.

What social causes are most important to you?
Animal rights, environmentalism and music

What charities do you support – and how?
I give money to lots of amazing people who are doing hands on work to relive the suffering of animals—one being at a time. I also give money to many amazing people who are working to educate other human beings about the intelligence and sensitivity of other animals, trees, forests, bodies of water and other eco-systems. I also like to support individual musicians who are doing wonderful musical things in the world.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Öykü Tekten: Sanctuary for Families and Mor Çatı Foundation

Name: Öykü Tekten

What is your job? I am a writer currently working with a literary agent, James Fitzgerald, in NY.

What charities do you support – and how? I have been volunteering for Sanctuary for Families, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence, and sex trafficking and their families. I am teaching an ESL class and also working for the Communication and Special Projects department two days a week. I also volunteered for the Mor Çatı Foundation and Women’s Shelter, a Turkish organization of gay, lesbian, transvestite, and transsexual people in Turkey by writing articles in order to gain public attention about the issues that women in Turkey deal with on a daily basis.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kristina Horner for Save the Children

Name: Kristina Horner

What is your job? I am a musician/video blogger on YouTube.

What social causes are most important to you? I've always been a sucker for children, so anything that focused on helping children here in America or around the world is going to be very important to me, whether it's health, literacy, anything.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tamding

Tamding is a Tibetan tattoo artist in India. Here he talks about tattoos in Tibet, the different ways he has seen them done, his own tattoos, and his first handmade machine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Dorjee

Every year Tibetans flee to India; in this story, 'Dorjee' fled to escape arrest. Fleeing Tibet itself is a punishable crime. In this video, 'Dorjee's' multiple escape attempts were marked with torture and brutality. He says his tattoo is his mark of this journey.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Palbey

Palbey is a 'new arrival' in Dharamsala, he only arrived from Tibet four months before this was taped. He and his family are just one of the countless victims of the protests that swept Tibet in 2008, calling for freedom under Communist oppression.

He is getting this tattoo by Tamding, featured here before, aTibetan artist who tattoos Tibetan political messages free of charge.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Choedon

At 24 years old, Choedon, a Tibetan refugee, tried to peacefully walk with hundreds of others back to Tibet. Here, she talks about her arrests, and her willingness to die for her homeland, which she has never seen. Her tattoos mark this journey.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tattoos of Tibetan Political Prisoners: Palden Gyatso

Palden Gyatso was tattooed as a young monk in Shigatse (Central Tibet). Here, he talks about his tattoos, their meaning, and their ultimate removal by Chinese prison guards during the cultural revolution.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bob and Nena Thurman: Tibet House

Name: Bob “Tenzin” Thurman and Nena Thurman

What are your jobs?
 (Bob)I’m a professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University; I’m also responsible Tibet House US ( a nonprofit dedicated to Tibetan culture), and for the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, (which translates the treasures of Tibetan scientific literature into English and other languages.) I’m also a writer and a public lecturer.

(Nena) I am the Managing Director of Tibet House US, with special focus on building Tibet House’s  Menla Healing Center in Catskills, where Tibetan healers and physicians can help people with their health and mental equilibrium.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jen Jones: Falling Whistles and Congo

Name: Jen Jones

What is your job? Social Liaison for Falling Whistles

What social causes are most important to you?
I work towards a world freer than our fathers.  So, for me any cause that builds community and strives for a more connected world is beautiful. We need to become collaborative problem solvers within each of our desired causes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kevin Max: Haiti and the Homeless

Name:   Kevin Max  

What is your job?  Singer/Writer/Actor/Activist

What social causes are most important to you? Anything that truly helps people.

What charities do you support – and how?
 There are several charities that I feel are relevant and worthwhile supporting…recently, I have been behind Safe Water Nexus as they are on the ground in Haiti and are a small and up and coming company with a huge heart.  Also a friend of mine has an outreach to the homeless in the Los Angeles area and abroad, it is called ‘Can’t Ignore The Poor’ and ‘The Jonah Project’- very interesting concepts and run by people with their ears to the ground and not interested in the hype machine.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Michael Duran: All Hands On Deck For Haiti

What is your job?
Currently working as a door-man/ security for a couple bars in Seattle. Also as a volunteer deckhand on sailing ships.

What social causes are most important to you?
For the last year, the earthquake in Haiti has been my primary focus. Being the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti is dire need for help. Although much of the current government is corrupt, the average Haitian person is warm-hearted and genuinely loving. My primary motivation is for the children. It's up to them to correct the problems for Haiti and with help they can grow to do that.