Katrina Pestaño is running the mic. "Hollow, my bones
will carry, rebellion like the rain," her rap begins. Head raised,
chest out, eyes squeezed tight, her momentum builds. "I am that ancient
rhythm, the heat of the sun." She drops her face and opens her eyes to
take in the crowd of protesters who gathered last weekend to block the
road to Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle. A broad smile takes over her
face. "When all is said and done, I am the will to carry on!"
Behind Pestaño stands a giant blue puppet, the words "Stop Arctic Drilling" painted in red on its chest.
Pestaño, 31, has been an activist since college, but she was
politicized by hip-hop while still a child in the Philippines. She
arrived in Seattle in 2006 and began organizing a monthly hip-hop show
for women performers called Indayog, which means "movement" or "rhythm"
in her native Tagalog. Had you asked her then, she likely would have
scoffed at the idea of breaking down her lyrics with – much less joining
– a group of predominately white environmentalists opposing Arctic oil