Miami Beach photographer Estefania Tarre was enjoying a quiet night at home, scrolling through her social media accounts She viewed a video of Emily Ruff informing on the protests around the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“When I watched the video I was shocked. Emily explained how the construction of the pipeline was threatening the access to clean drinkable water to 18 million people.” Tarre said. “This is happening in Native American sacred land. And the way the police are violently handling the peaceful protesters is not okay,” she said.
Tarre is organizing a fundraiser event, Adjust Y(our) Focus, Saturday at Wynwood 5th Ave, a multipurpose venue in the heart of the Miami arts district. Owner Martha Larranaga opened the space last year and is providing it rent free to contribute to Tarre’s cause.
“She’s a very passionate girl, when she came to us she didn’t have a place yet to do the event,” Larranaga said. “I thought what better way to help others in need than to have the event right here.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Tarre contacted 12 photographers who each donated two of their photographs to be raffled to ticket holders.
All raffle proceeds will go directly to the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council Indigenous People’s Week Fundraiser. The funds will be used to purchase medical supplies and equipment to benefit patients at camp sites.
“I want to bring awareness to people in the community about this issue. Sometimes as Miamiams we are too self involved,” Tarre said. “That's why I named the event Adjust Y(our) Focus,” she said.
Ruff, director of the Florida School of Holistic Living, traveled in September to join the hundreds of people who have gathered in North Dakota along the Cannonball River on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to stand in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
She and her team have partnered up with the Herbal Action Network and the Orlando Grief Care Project to help the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council, which brings volunteer medics, physicians, herbalists, as well as supplies to help the people injured in the resistance.
“On Sunday night, there were hundreds of peaceful people praying and they were sprayed with a high pressure water cannon in sub zero temperatures,” Ruff said. “The violence was completely terrorizing,” she said.
After doing research and learning more about the Dakota Access Pipeline, Tarre decided to help out Ruff’s efforts.
“I knew I wanted to get involved and help anyway I could,” Tarre said. “With Art Basel we have many visitors from around the globe and throwing an art event will be a the perfect way to reach a bigger audience.”
Chris Negron is one of the local photographers participating.
“It feels good to help out the community through my art,” Negron said. “Donating, even if it’s just a little to benefit others goes a long way,” he said.
Overtown resident Jonathan Ibero has been a photographer for almost four years and is also part of the event.
“We are starting a movement using our art to bring awareness about what is happening in North Dakota,” Ibero said. “CNN is not broadcasting it, the media has done little to spread awareness. It’s up to us to make a difference,” he said.
Adjust Y(our) Focus will become a monthly art-related event to benefit different causes around the world.