The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
From commemorating the summer solstice with grand celebrations in some parts of the world to protests igniting in Egypt, we recap the best of iReport this week.
Radiohead postponed a part of their upcoming European tour after a stage collapsed in Toronto last Saturday, killing the band's drum technician. The area was guarded by police, but iReporter Gary Jones’ wife was able to capture images of the scene. “Amazingly, one of the guards let my wife snap photos... no one else was allowed,” Jones said.
For the celebration of the summer solstice on Wednesday, thousands of yoga enthusiasts took to Times Square. The all-day yoga fest transformed one of the world’s busiest cities into a wellspring for mind, body and spirit. “It was amazing to see all these people doing yoga. I might want to try it myself,” said Rachel Cauvin.
While Croatia is largely a conservative society, according to iReporter Ivan Klindic, the turn out for the pride parade this year was huge. This year around 4,000 people streamed into Zagreb for the parade – a marked increase as compared to last year’s 1,500.
After a court verdict dissolved the Egyptian parliament, security forces were deployed around the parliament building as thousands of demonstrators gathered on Tuesday in uproar. Ahmed Raafat was in the middle of it all as people chanted slogans like “down with military rule.” They were protesting the decision of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces taking over legislative power.
Chris Bright saw black smoke rising from San Francisco’s Pier 29 and rushed to see what was going on. He captured this video of the four-alarm fire from across the street. “The fire department got there pretty quickly with about five to six trucks. They seemed to be doing a good job of handling it,” he said. Authorities say the warehouse fire caused substantial damage to the pier.
Is news happening where you are, or do you have an opinion you'd like to share? You could be part of next week's Best of iReport. Share your story here.
From efforts to quell the Colorado blaze to Mother Nature’s barrage of baseball-size hail, your stories were exceptional this week. Check out the best and the undiscovered below.
Wildlife photographer Victor Schendel documented a helicopter crew scrambling to contain the High Park fire on Monday as it engulfed tens of thousands of acres in northern Colorado. He describes the pilots’ efforts to safeguard residential communities as “absolutely heroic.”
This week, we welcomed former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Hannah Jones to the iReport community. Her first iReport was this video of a hailstorm that pummeled Dallas, Texas, on Wednesday and created a flooded chaos around her swimming pool.
As waters rose on the streets of Pensacola, Florida, iReporter Randy Hamilton photographed stranded drivers trying to rescue their flooded vehicles. The flooding resulted from a torrential downpour of rain on June 9.
Film director Joe Vogt photographed thousands of high-spirited Polish fans in Warsaw supporting their country in the opening match of the Euro 2012 soccer championship. Poland and Greece tied 1-1.
Lanterns took flight in Ulaanbaatar City, Mongolia, for Vesak, an annual Buddhist festival commemorating the birthday, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha. iReporter Onon Batchuluun documented the floating lanterns after a gathering of storytelling, prayer and meditation.
Is news happening where you are, or do you have an opinion you'd like to share? You could be part of next week's Best of iReport. Share your story here.
Tears, cheers and a transit to remember: Check out the best of iReport this week!
Photographer Femi Green-Adebo lives a few blocks from the Nigerian plane crash that killed 153 people on board and at least 10 on the ground. “It was so hot, we couldn't get close because of the fire,” he said. “I just kept thinking about the people, if there was anyone in there.”
Wisconsin’s unions began Tuesday evening with hope and energy about the promise of a governor recall. They ended the night “sullen, quiet and deflated,” said iReporter Jim Jorstad, who spent more than a year covering the recall movement in pictures.
“It is unbelievable how everyone across the world can be looking at the same thing at the same time,” Katie Sykes thought, as she watched Venus pass in front of the setting sun from a rooftop in Wichita, Kansas. She snapped this photo as countless of sky-watchers across the globe did the same.
Hundreds of straight Mormons marched in the annual Salt Lake City, Utah, gay pride parade to show their love for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Photographer Katrina Anderson brought her five children with her and said, “Just because you’re Mormon doesn’t mean you hate gays.”
Basil Harris Chaballout, a Syrian-American boy (second from right in the photo) from Homs, felt heartbroken about the violence there and wanted his classmates to understand the situation. "Not NEARLY ENOUGH people in the U.S. know anything about what is going on," he wrote in an email to CNN iReport. "To see children with open wounds, people on the street with split open heads, and families upon families crying and suffering just makes me want to cry when I think about it."
Is news happening where you are, or do you have an opinion you'd like to share? You could be part of next week's Best of iReport. Share your story here.
Every week iReporters from across the world upload amazing stories onto the site, and every Friday the iReport Team tries to highlight the stories that make us say "wow" or "have you seen this iReport?" From a tropical storm edging up the eastern coast of the United States, to a story that starts in a chicken factory and goes straight to Buckingham Palace, the stories this week took some interesting turns:
Satin dresses and lace veils thrashed frantically in the wind as Tropical Storm Beryl started to make landfall during a Jacksonville, Florida, wedding. Scott Thornton captured a video of his friends, Ryan and Amanda, tying the knot, despite gusts of wind and the ominously darkening sky.
“Nobody got rained on,” Thornton said. “It was like perfect timing. They said I do, there was the kiss, and then, ‘Whoo!’ and we ran. The house for the reception was right behind it.”
Thornton decided to upload the video as a wedding present to the bride and groom. “I actually didn’t get them a wedding gift, so I felt bad. I wanted to send an iReport,” he said.
Stormy weather continued throughout the week as a massive hail storm swept through Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Jeremy Battle started filming the hail storm outside his home, expecting the pieces to be the size of golf balls.
“As the hail intensified to three inches, near baseball size hail, I begin shouting ‘Oh my goodness’ in the video because I have never seen hail hit that size firsthand. I had to keep my back against my front door to prevent any hail from hitting me directly. It was an experience I will never forget.”
As the 2012 Olympics heads underway in London, Harry Hayfield captured the “kiss” of the Olympic flame. The "kiss" is when the Olympic flame is passed from torchbearer to torchbearer.
Hayfield added that the tradition of passing the torch for the Olympics, otherwise known as the Olympic Torch Relay, was established during the 1930s as a way of connecting the ideals of Nazi Germany to Ancient Greeks.
“The fact that the 1948 London Olympics took the idea and turned it into a message of peace between nations shows that peace will always overcome war,” he said.
James Mills sent in an iReport about how he not only met Queen Elizabeth II, but also worked for her. Mills was working at a chicken factory in Glasgow, Scotland, when he applied for a "trainee butler," he told CNN's Barry Neild.
When Buckingham Palace called to offer him a job, his mother thought it was a crank call. "It's one of those jobs you never expect to hear back from, so when they called my house my mother thought it was one of my friends having a wind up. So for three days she kept telling them to piss off."
Eventually, Mills called the number back himself and accepted the job, and he worked for the Queen from 2002 until 2006 as a footman.
"The footman -- that was me -- would either walk alongside the carriage in which the queen, or visiting head of state rides, or depending on the style of carriage, the footman may ride on the back. It is my job to protect the persons inside, and also to get the carriage door open when it stops to assist the passengers in or out."
Across America, people celebrated Memorial Day on Monday by remembering those who served the country. But Eric Raum was not in the U.S. on Memorial Day, he was in Buehring, Kuwait.
In Buehring, Kuwait, the United Service Organization, a nonprofit group, put together a 5k run/walk in remembrance of fallen soldiers. The run ended with 6,431 luminaries glowing softly in a vast field. Raum said it was truly a humbling and incredibly moving sight.
“It was a very powerful and emotional reminder of the human impact these last 12 years have had, as well as the meaning behind the day," he said. "Many soldiers taking part are on their second, third, or more deployment, and many know first hand the faces behind those lights.”
Every week, hundreds of iReports are uploaded onto the site, and each week the iReport Team highlights stories that are exceptional, undiscovered or simply the best. From naming streets after icons to walking suspects off runways, this week, the site was filled with breaking news, momentous moves and messages of hope:
As May 22 approached, Grant Deardorff drove around Joplin, Missouri, snapping pictures of the town that one year ago was decimated by a devastating tornado. He photographed local schools, businesses and homes and says the landscape has totally transformed.
“I would never show up and take pictures of the back of a Walmart, but Walmart had been gone and it had been destroyed,” he said. “The most mundane place in your entire world can become the most significant.”
A woman in handcuffs was led away by police after a security scare on Flight 787 from Paris to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday. John O'Connor and his wife were onboard when they noticed some commotion on the plane. The woman claimed to have a device implanted in her body. "It was just so low key. The announcement came on board that they were looking for an emergency medical person, then 'was there a doctor on board?'" he said.
"The suspect was seated diagonally to me. At some point during the flight she came up and sat. I thought she was the one doing the helping rather than the one in trouble," he said.
The NATO Summit in Chicago generated more than just ideas, it stirred up emotions of anger, frustration and passion. People from all over the U.S. came to the Windy City to protest the summit, marching through the streets of downtown, chanting for the end of military occupation in Afghanistan.
Tom Jozefowicz documented the marches, which he described as chaotic. “There [were] thousands and thousands of people, and hundreds of police officers on both sides of the streets,” he said.
Sky-watchers in some parts of the world were treated to a rare event over the weekend: An annular solar eclipse. The "ring of fire" -- termed becaused the sun appears as a thin ring behind the moon -- was visible in Western parts of the U.S. and Asia. Howard Bruensteiner photographed the solar eclipse over the sandy dunes of Roswell, New Mexico.
He describes the eclipse as something that reminded him of infinity. "At mid-eclipse, looking into the blackness in the center of the sun was like looking into forever ... like a worm hole, if that could be imagined," he said.
San Diego’s Blaine Avenue was christened Harvey Milk Street on Tuesday, the 82nd anniversary of the slain gay rights leader. Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected for public office in California. Anthony Antoine McWilliams shot a video of the street sign’s unveiling and said it shows that Milk should be honored for his leadership.
"The climate is now to see the dreams of Harvey Milk fulfilled. It's the same year that our first sitting President of the United States has publicly shifted his position to support gay marriage,' he said.
Here at Team iReport, it’s always tough to boil down the best iReports in any given week to five high-quality gems you see in these roundup blog posts. We watch the site like a mother hawk tending to her nest, so we get to see all of the awesome photos, videos and stories that iReporters regularly send our way. But picking out the best ones? It's like asking that mother hawk to pick her favorite hatchling.
From a rave on the beaches of Tel Aviv and majestic herons fishing in the waters of Alberta, Canada, to the wildfires raging in the U.S. Southwest – Dear Reader, this is the week in iReport.
Domenico Giannantonio lives in the small, northern Italian town of Reggio Emilia. Last year, during his travels throughout the town and to the metropolitan centers Venice and Milan, he was struck by scores of homeless and impoverished he saw in the streets. He took these photos as a way of humanizing what he sees as an underrepresented group in Italian society.
“We really could not solve the problem of poverty in our society, but we can do one thing: to speak and listen to [them]. Hear their story of life, gather their evidence,” he said. “In short, consider them persons and not objects.”
Professional photographer Eric Rossicci was traveling the waterways of Surrey, British Columbia, when he came across a group of herons feasting on fresh fish. He knew he had to get the moment on camera, and these stunning HDR-enhanced pictures were the result.
“There is a rookery nearby and at this time of year the Herons are busy building their nests and fishing,” he said. “The inevitable fight for fishing territory follows as can be expected, so it's always fun to watch them and capture them doing what they do best. They are so engrossed in fishing that they don't mind people getting close to them which makes it easy for me to get their pictures.”
Andrew Pielage of Phoenix, Arizona, shot these photos of nearby wildfires on May 15. Firefighters are trying to contain major blazes fueled by strong winds in the region. “We figured the best way to get some quality images would be to go with the birds-eye-view," he said. "Once up on our perch we knew right away this wildfire is not going away anytime soon”
Cartoonist Brixton Doyle regularly submits his doodles to iReport, which he uses to sound off on current events, and offer a humorous look at the top headlines of the moment. He penned this comic in reaction to North Carolina's May 7 statewide vote to approve an amendment that bans same-sex marriage, and Obama's announcement a day later of personal support for LGBT partnerships.
“We might not have had a country, let alone a Constitution, if not for a gay man, [Frederich Wilhelm] von Steuben – the tactician Washington (well-aware of his homosexuality) employed to get his army in shape at Valley Forge,” he wrote, citing a popular but still-unproven view among some historians. “I think states that are foolish enough to outlaw gay marriage will quickly reverse course.”
The topic has stirred up plenty of debate on iReport, both for and against same-sex marriage. See more of the conversation here.
Journalism student Erik Sahlin shot this video of a ‘silent rave’ on the beaches of Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 4 where partiers donned noise-canceling headphones and danced the day away. The fad began in Europe, but has quickly spread to all corners of the world as a fun, unique way to get a party going at any hour, in any locale.
“[Party-goers] rent headphones that are connected wirelessly to the DJ who is sending out the music,” he said. “People were loving it, and it created a bond between those who were attending it. I also tried it out myself and it felt like being in your own world together with others.”
Are interesting stories going down where you are, or do you have an opinion you're dying to share? You could be a selection in next week's Best of iReport roundup: Share your story.
It was a busy week at the iReport desk, from the same-sex marriage debate to recall primaries in Wisconsin and the death of a beloved children’s author.
Here are five stand-outs you shouldn’t miss:
It's been the year of the recall for Wisconsin, and iReporter Mediaman has been documenting every step of the campaign to oust GOP Gov. Scott Walker that began when he curtailed the collective bargaining rights of state employees. The iReporter was in Madison on Tuesday for the state’s recall primaries and shot photos of the candidates and imagery from the campaign. Voters will return to the polls in June for the general election pitting Walker against Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in a re-match from last year. "Seeing the climatic conclusion in June will be one for the record books, and the textbooks," Mediaman said.
After North Carolina voters passed an amendment on Tuesday defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman, iReporters across the U.S. got on camera to share their reactions. Anne Yates and her wife, Claire, said they moved with their two boys to Calgary, Alberta, four years ago because of the discrimination they felt in New Hampshire. They argue that the passage of the same-sex marriage ban teaches people that "it's OK to hate gays and lesbians," Yates said. "I swear, all people from North Carolina should just move to Canada."
Go here to see other perspectives on the debate and reaction to President Obama's declaration of support for same-sex marriage this week.
Prescott, Arizona's historic Whiskey Row caught fire again on Tuesday, more than a century after the street was destroyed in a 1900 blaze. Videographer Deborah Gallegos was at the scene Tuesday night while flames engulfed three businesses on Montezuma Street -- known as Whiskey Row for the saloons that once lined the block. Crowds gathered across the street on the courthouse square watching plumes of smoke and fire rise from the buildings with "sadness to lose this bit of history."
During a March visit to Germany, videographer Tracy Bymoen got a private view inside a Pottsdam prison used by the Soviet Military Counterintelligence after World War II to hold thousands of people. She got a tour of Memorial Leistikowstraße as the director prepared for the permanent exhibition's April opening, and said she "felt chills down my spine seeing the isolation and standing rooms."
Childhood fans of the classic story "Where the Wild Things Are" mourned author Maurice Sendak's passing this week. Matty Horn, in Pomona, New York, still believes "deep down that I am Max, ruler of the 'Wild Things,'" and credits the story with helping him become a confident leader in adulthood. He was one of several people we heard from who loved the the book so much they tattooed scenes from it on their bodies. He made this diptych of his forearm, which he initially shared with iReport via Instagram.
From Fort Stewart, Georgia, to Dagupan City, Philippines, we received dozens of interesting stories from iReporters around the world this week. Here are five standout iReports you may have missed.
There are two things that we can all agree on here at team iReport: Animal videos are pretty great, and underwater animal videos are even better. So you can imagine how thrilled we all were when we spotted this video from Robert A.S. Suntay of an octopus creating a makeshift home out of a tin can. He spotted the resourceful creature in Anilao, a popular diving location in the Philippines.
“Octopi are very smart but shy critters,” explained Suntay. “That's why I had to be really patient just waiting for it to see me, get used to me, and then react by dragging its home around. After trying to move away from me a couple of times, at the end of the video, you can see that it finally decides to just enter its can and cover itself with a shell. Brilliant move!”
iReporter Amy Proctor stood in 90-degree heat for four long hours last Friday waiting to see the President and first lady at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Fortunately, she says the wait was worth it. Proctor, who got a ticket to the event through her husband’s unit, captured some fantastic photos as President Obama spoke out against deceptive practices by "diploma mills" -- for-profit colleges that lure military personnel and veterans. Despite the fact that she’s not an Obama supporter, she said “it was a great experience.”
Another iReport from the Philippines made our list this week. Christopher Domingo shared photos from Dagupan City’s traditional Bangus Festival, which features grilling thousands of bangus, or milkfish, in the city streets. “It is a celebration of the fruits of hard work and sacrifice of all of the people who were involved in the industry, leading to a rich and bountiful harvest,” Domingo said.
We received dozens of iReports from May Day celebrations and protests around the world, but this video from Paris, France, stood out from the rest. Adrian Westbrook shot fantastic footage of the crowds filling the Boulevard Saint Germain Tuesday afternoon with his Canon 7D. While Westbrook, a self-described “casual observer,” said there were many different groups and perspectives represented in the march, “the dominant theme appeared to be an all-encompassing disdain for the incumbent president and a proprietary reclamation of the May Day festival itself.”
And a different type of procession took place in Kyoto, Japan, on Thursday as hundreds of people dressed up as samurais for the city’s annual Akechi Mitshuide Festival, which celebrates the famous samurai and his lasting legacy. “Hundreds of samurai-costumed people marched around the old city,” said iReporter Chieko Ohkuma, who shared photos of volunteers in elaborate handmade costumes.
Thanks to the above iReporters and everyone who shared original stories this week – it’s always fascinating to see what’s happening around the world.
Come gather 'round! It was a protest-heavy and celebration-filled week on iReport. There were protests in Lithuania, Sudan and the Netherlands, see-sawing celebrations for Earth Day, the Chumash Festival and Rome’s birthday.
Amidst all the chaos, we selected five of our favorite iReports this week you might have missed.
The Sikh Sabha of New Jersey held their annual parade for Vaisakhi, an ancient Punjabi harvest festival celebrated in northern India, on Saturday, April 21. iReporter Rachel Cauvin, who enjoys taking pictures of cultural events, said thousands lined up on Madison Avenue in New York City “to see the floats, marching bands, sword fighting and wheel spinning.”
“This was my first time going and I loved the bright orange colors and the beautiful, colorful sarees,” she said.
With hotly-contested elections looming in Egypt, thousands gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, last Friday for what they called the “Friday of Determination.” Ahmed Raafat Amin said people from a variety of political backgrounds were present to protest against having the country’s constitution written by the transitional military government.
“People are excited about the upcoming elections since it’s the first post-Mubarak presidential elections, but there are fears of fraud as the military rulers that are still in power are people who are considered to be Mubarak’s men,” he said. “Many people fear that the military could interfere in the electoral process and change the results of the elections.”
President Obama visited colleges across the country this week to deliver campaign speeches on student loans. His trip to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was well-received by iReporter Trevor Dougherty and his peers.
Although Dougherty currently doesn’t have loans, student debt still worries him. “There are plans for tuition increases at UNC, so my friends and the general college community are definitely worried about student loans and increasing interest rates,” the 19-year-old said.
“Obama won over the crowd at first with some references to UNC basketball, but his call for affordable higher education was what really resonated with all of us,” he said.
Rappers Chuck D of Public Enemy and M-1 of Dead Prez attended an “Occupy” protest for Mumia Abu-Jamal at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, April 24. Rene Carson attended to document the event and learn more about it.
“For me, it was really a learning experience, because I know very little about these subjects, so hearing people speak about different truths and statistics helped me understand things a little better,” Carson said.
Carson supports many of the issues that were scheduled to be discussed at the rally, such as prison and immigration reform.
“It is totally different from a zoo,” Amerson said. “A zoo is there to educate people about animals, and this sanctuary was created to rehabilitate and give back to creatures that had unfortunate beginnings.”
He explained that many of the apes were captured in the wild and sold as pets, while some were bred for Hollywood entertainment or the circus. Apes raised this way end up being too comfortable with humans, and lack survival skills.
“Primates are very social and territorial, these apes might be killed by their own species for being an outsider,” he said. “This is for the sake of these creatures, and for them to live their lives as close to apes as possible.” He said standing so close to the apes was an incredible experience.
iReporters across the U.S. looked to the skies this week to catch a glimpse of the space shuttle Discovery’s final voyage.
Back on the ground, festivals and parades celebrating diverse cultures popped up all over iReport, with the stunningly beautiful Aliwan festival in the Philippines, and the Tartan Parade in New York City.
Check out the awesome submissions from iReport this week!
More than 100 tornadoes were reported throughout the Midwest on Saturday, April 14. Stormchasers Dustin Mazzio and Ben Tracy courageously tracked one while driving through Kansas, and managed to capture this incredible video of the tornado beginning to form. Mazzio says he has been chasing storms for three years, and that “this was by far the most amazing storm have witnessed. I had encountered potential funnel clouds before, but none ever transformed into tornadoes, so this was my first.”
iReporters’ eyes were on the skies and their fingers were at the ready to snap photographs of the space shuttle Discovery's final voyage. We asked iReporters to document its journey aboard a modified 747 jet from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum near Washington D.C. Andrew Brisker snapped this picture as it flew over the U.S. Capitol. “It was bittersweet watching Discovery soar over the Capitol, but it was thrilling to witness its final ride into retirement,” he said. “The crowd was ecstatic. I got goosebumps.”
The streets of Manila were awash with vibrant hues of gold, purple, and red as Filipinos celebrated the annual Aliwan festival on April 14. This festival began in 2003 and is a celebration of the diverse and rich heritages of the Philippines. Roland Roldan captured breathtaking photos of the various events, including street dancing and parade floats.
Bagpipes sounded in the streets of the Big Apple at the 10th annual Tartan Parade on April 14. Frequent iReporter Rachel Cauvin loves documenting the sundry parades New York City has to offer, and she shared her photographs of music performances and other events held to celebrate Scottish culture. She says the crowd fell in love with the adorable Scottish terriers that walked down the parade route.
We asked iReporters to share their memories of Dick Clark, and Paul Revere offered the heartwarming story of his close relationship with the broadcast legend. Clark helped Revere's band, "Paul Revere and the Raiders", acquire fame, and the two ended up becoming life-long friends in the process. “I owe everything to Dick Clark,” Revere wrote in his iReport. “And I am SO thankful that I got to tell him so, six weeks ago, at his house in Los Angeles."
The theme of change seemed to seep into many iReports this week. From the changing tides of the Travyon Martin case to the shifting skies of Portland, Oregon, check out some of the best iReports from the site.
The case of Trayvon Martin took a turn this week with the arrest of George Zimmerman, who was charged with second-degree murder of the teenage boy in Sanford, Florida. iReporters, like Norma Valdez, sent in their reactions to Zimmerman's arrest. Valdez said that although she thinks the prosecution made the right call, she said it was made far too late. "I feel we have an uphill battle because justice is in the eye of the juror and if you get one that doesn't see it like the rest, you will get a hung jury and then what, he goes free," she said.
Across the world, tectonic plates were shifting. After an 8.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia, some residents and tourists in Phuket, Thailand, took precautions. Isaac Kawar shot a video of people being evacuated from Thailand's Patong Beach to higher ground.
The tech world was in a tailspin with the recent Facebook buyout of the photo sharing site Instagram. Diehard Instagram fans were up-in-arms and iReporters sent in their reactions to the one-billion-dollar deal. Donnol Hem and his daughter Mikaela posed with stunned faces after hearing the news. "I'm not shocked by the purchase just surprised at how much Facebook paid for it. So far I can only think of it as a good thing because Facebook, like it or not, is a huge success," he said.
Do backyard chickens really taste better? Residents from Winter Park, Florida, seem to think so. Kayla O'Brien, a journalism student at the University of Central Florida, documented the town's urban farmers petitioning to raise chickens with The Backyard Yard Chicken Initiative. The practice of raising chickens is currently illegal in that area. O'Brien said she reached out to Winter Park, and the town said it was not against changing the law on raising chickens, but no one presented the desire to change it.
The bustling lights from cars zipping by and a rainbow of colorful pastels from the sky were captured by photographer John Eklund. Eklund created a picturesque time-lapse video of Portland, Oregon. "I thought doing a time-lapse would be a unique way to show my beautiful city," he said.
Lights dimmed around the world, tornadoes ripped through Texas and palm leaves fluttered at the hands of religious tradition. Check out the best of iReport this week:
Storms ripped through several parts of Texas this week, and Kelly Carrasco had her camera out as a tornado touched down in Forney, Texas. “As we looked right down the street, the funnel cloud started to spin and just dropped to the earth. We didn't know if it was headed our way or not,” she said. Air traveler Eric Gould also captured a video of hail pinging his plane like popcorn as the storm passed over the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. “The noise of ice cubes hitting the aluminum exterior of a 757 was as deafening as it was frightening," he said.
Does racism still exist in America? Against the backdrop of Trayvon Martin’s death and Anderson Cooper 360's year-long study on kids and race, iReporters pondered where racism starts and what can be done about it. Frequent commentator Omekongo Dibinga said America must engage in a “nationwide dialogue” if it wants to overcome racism.
April 2 was World Autism Awareness Day, and we asked families to share what it’s like to live with the disorder. We received more than 250 submissions, including inspiring testimonials from high-functioning adults and heart-breaking footage from families who say there's nothing positive about this disease. Samantha Cotterill, from Niskayuna, New York, has autism, and her son has Asperger’s Syndrome. She explains that sometimes she finds herself wearing two different hats when it comes to being a person with autism and also being a mother to a son with the disorder. "Sometimes the marriage of the two works beautifully, and at other times one hat can be forgotten for the other," she said.
For 60 minutes, lights across the world went dim in celebration of Earth Hour, a movement to raise awareness about the environment and climate change. Chris De Bruyn celebrated Earth Hour with other Iraqis in Sulaimani, Iraq. “I am very pleased to see Iraqis take part in such an important issue as protecting the environment," he said.
Decorative leaves were adorned with ribbons and flowers for Palm Sunday, a religious tradition that commemorates Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, and is celebrated worldwide. Ronald Roldan shared photos from the Philippines, where he says people buy palm or coconut leaves to be blessed by the priest.
This week had iReporters grappling with some big questions: What's the meaning of the Trayvon Martin case? Should the Supreme Court overturn the national health care law? How would you spend $500 million?
But that doesn't mean they didn't have time for some lighter human interest stories, too. Read on to see iReporters take on the big issues - and meet a few fun characters.
iReporters from all walks of life weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case, discussing its implications for racial profiling and self-defense laws. Many, like Kevin Alexander, pictured here, shot self-portraits wearing hoodies to indicate their viewpoints. "I felt it was important for me to take this photo due to the racial profiling I have received during my lifetime," said Alexander.
This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments about the sweeping health care law championed by President Obama. Many Americans, including several iReporters, attended rallies to support or criticize the law and try to influence the court's decision about its constitutionality. Michael Kandel, who says that, overall, he thinks the health care law is "a good thing," went to this rally to hear its opponents' side of the story. While there, he captured images of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Senator Rand Paul speaking out against the law.
Matt Sky used iReport as a platform to ask a provocative, open-ended question: What would you do with $500 million? The regular iReport contributor pegged his question to the Mega Millions jackpot of $540 million - a world-record amount that will be given away Friday night. His video garnered nearly 400 responses, with iReporters saying they'd do everything from pay off student loans to travel the world to give it all to charity.
Meet Henry Linder. He's 92 years old, and he's a cobbler in Landrum, South Carolina. He's been fixing shoes since he was a teenager the 1930s, and has the passion and people skills that go along with spending 76 years in the business. iReporter Erik Olsen gives us a glimpse into a day in Linder's life in this brilliant example of video storytelling.
How did foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay get into cooking? What about his fellow MasterChef judges, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot? Regular iReporter Chris Morrow caught up with the trio to find out. She got three very different answers -- and a little dig at CNN's own Piers Morgan (from Ramsay, of course).
It was tough to narrow down this week's iReports to five favorites. From passionate discussions about the Trayvon Martin shooting, to gorgeous photos of cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., to messages of hope for escaped slaves in Mauritania, our community was full of life.
These are our top picks for the week:
New York photographer Joel Graham stood in the crowd on Wednesday when hundreds gathered to demand justice for the killing of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Central Florida last month. Marchers at Manhattan’s Union Square wore hooded black sweatshirts in honor of the teen’s style of dress. While he went as a journalist, Graham says it was difficult not to feel emotionally connected to the crowd.
Anita Amy Kittiudom shared some stunning images and video of tens of thousands of Buddhist monks gathering in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, on Sunday for an almsgiving ceremony to raise money for victims of last year's flooding. The scene, she said, was "magical." "Everyone that came out that day was amazed at the beauty and at the kindness that was taking place."
Stephen P. Nichols Jr., a newspaper reporter in Mexico City, Mexico, was in his office on Tuesday when a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Southern Mexico. Workers in the country’s capital evacuated to the streets, where he said there were "hundreds, if not thousands of people, crowding the streets and sidewalks waiting for instructions on what to do." Pablo-Jorge Velandia also shot footage of the evacuations and said people are still waiting for another earthquake: "As we say in Mexico, 'Earthquakes never come alone.'"
Begorrah! It took two weeks of preparation for Kumaran Alagesan to shoot a time-lapse video of the Chicago River turning emerald green for St. Patrick's Day. He stitched it all together from a sequence of 900 images shot from the bridge overlooking the river. Alagesan, a 28-year-old information technology consultant, says photography is his passion.
Photographer Shameel Arafin has been covering the Occupy Wall Street protests since they began last fall. He was at the six-month anniversary rally on Saturday, when protesters tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park. Arafin said police moved in and began arresting people, and in response, the protesters linked arms and sat on the ground, resulting in dozens of arrests.
A range of emotions lit up our site as iReporters celebrated, traveled and reflected on some big events that happened this past week. We’re highlighting this week’s interesting iReports, so check them out!
South by Southwest (SXSW) – an annual music, film and technology conference – was in full swing this week. Many of us weren't lucky enough to experience the interactive booths and impromptu music concerts firsthand, so we lived vicariously through our iReporters who sent in an array of photos and videos of SXSW through their eyes. First-time iReporter Chris Janka sent in an image of himself standing in the Canon screening room, where he was surrounded by more than 95,000 photographs from a documentary project by Ron Howard. The photo gallery was composed entirely of user-generated photographs. The Santa Monica native said he felt amazed and overwhelmed to be surrounded by all the images and their stories: "It just seems with technology being at the state it’s in it is really empowering people, young and old, to capture moments in their life."
The Occupy movement is still alive across the U.S., as Michael Kandel documented through a photo earlier this week. As a freelance photographer in Washington, D.C., Kandel said he keeps his ear close to the ground to see where Occupy demonstrations will take place around the D.C. area. On this particular night he followed a group of Occupy protesters from the White House to K Street, where the group ended up lying down in the middle of the road, blocking traffic. "I think if you can stop people on the street, then you are drawing attention to your message, I mean it got my interest piqued," he said.
The mood was somber as people across the world reflected on the earthquake and tsunami disasters that hit Japan one year ago. Cristian Williams captured images from Hibiya Park in Tokyo where people gathered to remember those they lost. "There was also a mutual feeling of respect among the audience. Respect towards those affected, and respect towards those who weren't directly affected, but still attended the ceremony," he said. Williams was one of the dozens of iReporters who sent us their thoughts, images and stories on the anniversary of the disaster; you can see it all woven together into the CNN piece “Lost and found: Japan One Year Later.”
iReporters celebrated math with dessert by sending in pictures and recipes of their favorite pie dishes for March 14th. Michele Hays sent in a delicious photograph of her pie, ingeniously dubbed (Pi)neapple and rhubarb pie. For the past few years, Hays has been baking up pi-inspired pies, and considers herself a math appreciator. "I'm not particularly good at math. However, I do love to cook, and I'm learning that cooking is really a system of applied mathematics."
The routine runway taxiing of American Airlines flight 2332 came to an halt as the screams of one flight attendant poured out of the aircraft's intercom system. Passenger Laurie Grabe captured the chilling screams of the flight attendant as she demanded passengers get off the plane. The flight attendant said the plane was likely to crash, which many saw as an allusion to September 11th. Grabe's iReport became one of the most popular videos on our site that day and was featured on CNN television as well. OutFront’s Erin Burnett interviewed Grabe on television, where they talked about the incident and the passengers’ reactions.
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