Samm Bones 2020 Experience

I was asked to write an article by the founder of the Belgium music festival Roots in the Jar about my experiences in 2020. I have never written an article about myself but I suppose I should practice vanity more often. My year started with a mini-tour in Florida that began in Miami and made it's way up north along the Atlantic coast. When I wasn't on stage I was dancing alone in the salsa clubs, bar hopping punk dives and basking in Florida's street art. At this point in my career I was a half-time touring musician and a full-time General Manager for a Laos and Thai restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Shortly thereafter the virus made its way to the lungs of Americans moving swiftly throughout the nation. I was laid off from my job just a week later; I stocked up on food and supplies with my last paycheck, hoping for the best. About 2 weeks in I kept hearing about low income families and elderly in Pittsburgh going without food; being that the closest food pantry that was open for limited hours was a 35 minute drive from the city center. I then found The Wellness Collective, a mutual aid organization that curated a system to get these families and elderly meals and supplies. I continued to do deliveries until the end of May, afraid of the very air I breathed- but the empath in me decided my safety wasn’t important.

George Floyd was publicly murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25th 2020. In response I took to the streets protesting police brutality daily amongst hundreds to thousands pittsburghers. I knew it was my time to hit the road, I felt that the movement was bigger than anything that I had ever seen before and set out to find my role. On June 6th I marched on DC along with tens of thousands of people- 5 days after Trump used tear gas, impact ammunition, flash bangs, pepper spray, shields, batons and horses to clear protesters out of the way for Trump’s photo op at St. John’s church.

When Rayshard Brooks was murdered by an Atlanta Police officer I drove straight down to Georgia from camping in the West Virginia mountains and protested in the streets of downtown Atlanta with The Millennial Leader as our black leadership that day. While I was in Atlanta, Trump announced that he would host his first Trump Rally since the pandemic- on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So I headed to Tulsa, stopping at protests along my way- camping in my car in the swamps, the Ozarks, and whatever nature I could find.

Trump moved the date of his rally to June 20th, 2020- I arrived that morning. I spent the entire duration as a de-escalator and body shield for my BIPOC protesters. Fighting the violent Trump supporters as they continuously attacked protesters, the National Guard and riot police. Marching through the riot lines, enduring impact ammunition while we made our way to Black Wall Street. It felt like victory. I then made my way to my hometown- Portland, Oregon; the Anarchist Jurisdiction.

I've spent the last 8 months as a de-escalator and production event team member on the ground with my team JUICE Crew PDX. The amount of physical, emotional and spiritual trauma that myself and my comrades have endured by the hands of Portland Police brutality and armed racists and trump supporters- is unforgivable. I can’t bring myself to share the stories that haunt my head. The amount of violence that we have seen and encountered. The armed racists and police that storm these streets, assaulting my comrades and our BIPOC community. I thought I had seen hardship before the year of 2020, but I was gravely mistaken. With all that said, I am honored to serve by the sides of my comrades who I now call family. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Then, suddenly, it all came to a halt when I was diagnosed with the virus we all fear. I was quarantined in a dystopian-like shelter, luckily my case was mild. Unfortunately the virus still haunts me, I suffer from; memory loss, cognitive fog, tinnitus, shortness of breath, ear pain and fatigue. Nevertheless I am grateful to have made it through barely scathed. I took the time in quarantine to finish my memoir; The Travelin' Itch . It is now available for pre-sale HERE.

Without live music to reach for as my coping tool, my spiritual fulfillment, my hobby, my career, my art- essentially my way of life; I had to take my vigorous ambition and pivot it's focus onto my activism work. I long for the days that I will stand on a stage again but for now I will continue to fight in the streets- uplifting BIPOC voices and supporting my resistance community here in Portland- in efforts to see a better world some day. Best believe though, that when it's finally safe, I will be touring the goddamn globe year round.

I am currently working hard at rebuilding my career path with a focus on journalism. I now have a youtube channel, podcast and magazine. In order to support my projects, please follow, like, subscribe and do all the social media world supportive things you can do. This passion project is donation based and donations are greatly appreciated in these uncertain times. Thank you for always supporting me in whatever I do, whether it's music, art, writing, traveling and just adventure all around. Your continuous support is a huge part of my drive to keep doing all the crazy shit that I do.


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