What an amazing experience this last week was. Where to begin?
On Wednesday, we picked up Ric O’Barry to go do a radio show for KNPR Las Vegas. The interview lasted about 13 minutes, and gave him an opportunity to educate an audience that would probably never go looking for our cause otherwise. The interview has been uploaded online.
Afterwards, My News 3 met us at his hotel for a quick interview. Hotel management came down, asking questions about the interview. We assured them the hotel would not be mentioned, and told them about the cause. Upper management also came down before the interview ended. We were informed that they usually cut these interviews off and do not let them happen. When Ric O’Barry finished his interview, the management team from the hotel shook his hand and said they were big fans. One worker said he got our flyers at his college, and would be attending the showing.
Thursday was the big day. We had been planning this event for 5 months, and couldn’t believe it was finally here. The showing of The Cove with Ric O’Barry. We arrived early, and began to set up the auditorium, while Dolphin Project team members sold merchandise to people waiting. Bikers 4 Orcas Socal provided the tissues with dolphin clips that were seated on your chair when you came inside. Doors opened at 7pm, as our youtube videos played on the big screen. People entered the door to a table with a sign in sheet, petitions, and a jar to place questions to Ric in. After we thanked everyone for attending, especially the Cove Monitors from Taiji, and the movie began to play, silence was heard throughout the theater. Everybody’s eyes were glued to the screen. I forgot how much of an impact this movie has on your soul. 180 people attended the screening overall. One third of the theater had never seen the movie before, and I am positive they walked out of that screening a changed person. Ric answered questions, and people hung on his every word. He spent so much time talking with us, that we had to leave the theater because our time was over. Ric is such a gentle, kind soul. He made sure to talk to as many people as he could, signing autographs and posing for many photos. We hung outside of the theater until the crowd fizzled away to get sleep for the next days protest. ((View photos from event here))
We arrived at the protest around 4:30, and a crowd had already begun to form. Before we knew it, we had over 100 protesters. People traveled from Washington, Utah, California, Arizona, Florida and further to protest for dolphin rights next to the man who started it all. I can’t even count the number of people who said we completed items on their bucket list. Ric O’Barry protested with us the entire 2 hours, giving his expert opinion on all dolphin questions thrown his way. His sign was a replica of the same sign he used back in his opening day demonstration of the Mirage. The message is still the same- Enough is enough! 24 years is a long time to be stranded closer to Death Valley than the ocean from which these dolphins originate. The sidewalk was flooded with people holding signs, and passing out brochures to anyone who was interested. We passed out over 600, and signed hundreds of letters to the MGM head honchos. As the lights on the strip began to sparkle, and the memory of the dolphins were long gone from the minds of the tourists who had seen them earlier in the day, we stood strong, united as a voice for the voiceless. ((View photos from event here))
The protest made the news, and many people have written online about their experience. Our friends at Vegas Rock Dog Radio spoke out about it on her radio show the following day. It starts at about 27:30, click to listen. Thanks for the shoutout, Sam. We really appreciate it, and look forward to working with you again in the future.
We have uploaded all of the photos from both events onto our facebook page, and we are working on getting the video from the Q&A segment from the screening online for everyone to review, or watch for the first time. Please be patient while we get that up. As soon as it is available, you will be the first to know!
We feel forever thankful to have Ric O’Barry set aside time in his schedule and pay us a visit in the middle of the Mojave Desert. This is an experience we will never forget. We are more motivated than ever to do what is right by these 10 dolphins. We hope you are too.