By GRAYCE MCCORMICK
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
The sun broke out of the clouds just in time Wednesday morning for the first Tibetan flag raising in Santa Barbara County history.
Wednesday marks Tibetan Uprising Day, and Santa Barbara joined 425 cities in Germany and numerous cities in California and several in Wisconsin in raising the flag to raise awareness for human rights and freedom for Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongolians and people in Hong Kong.
County supervisors Das Williams and Joan Hartmann co-sponsored a resolution this year declaring March 10 Tibetan Uprising Day.
“I think that it’s important for Santa Barbara to declare ourselves in solidarity with the struggles of the people of Tibet, but also, even more importantly, to try to minimize our economic aid to the government of China in perpetuating human rights crises,” Das Williams, the First District supervisor, told the News-Press at the flag-raising site. “If we keep buying Chinese products — many of which are made in the slave labor camps in the country — then we are actually helping oppress the Tibetan and Uighur people, so I think the second part is to raise consciousness about that.”
Mr. Williams and more than a dozen community members gathered in front of the County Administration Building on Anapamu Street.at 9 a.m., including Tibetan native and Buddhist lama Thepo Tulku who now lives in Santa Barbara, the Rev. Larry Gosseling from the Santa Barbara Mission and Kevin Young with Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet, who organized the ceremony. Speeches were given, and the Rev. Gosseling said a prayer, followed by a flute performance by Emiliano Campobello, a board member on the Santa Barbara Summit for Tibet.
Then the group played the Tibetan National Anthem as the flag was raised.
See more details in an exclusive story in Thursday’s News-Press.