Sun Sky and Freedom
Photographs and Story
The first time I learned of Chris Sky's name was a couple weeks before that event at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach. People I know on Twitter and Instagram often post about him. It was through them that I’d learned his name. And it was through them that I heard of this event. I was already downtown for an appointment that day and I arrived an hour early. I sat in an open area far away from the stage. I sat alone on the grass separated from the many groups of friends who were also sitting on the grass. They were there partaking in the puffing tradition of that particular day 04/20. My puffing days were behind me. And I didn't care much to meet anybody, or even chat with anyone that I may have known. I was far from feeling my best. Earlier that afternoon my surgeon poked and prodded deep into my ear to assess the healing progress of his recent work. And I’d just come off a week of taking strong antibiotics, which all together left me feeling physically agitated, socially introverted, and extra sensitive to the direct sunlight beaming down. I didn’t wanna be there, I wanted out, but I’d committed myself to photographing Chris Sky. Chris Sky…..I thought. What's with the Sky name anyway? His real last name is Saccoccia. Where’d the Sky part come from? I wondered. I’ve seen a few of his videos, and sure he’s got some balls doing what he does, but he doesn’t present himself all that well. He’s like a tough guy used car salesman or something. But he’s got a real die hard following. People seem to love him. They’re passionate too. All I knew of him before that night was that he’s a guy speaking up against Canadian Covid-19 restrictions, and that there’s a lot of people out there who want him canceled. And that was all alright with me. However; I’d still need to understand him better before he could ever sell me a car. I wrote in my notebook to pass the time and would occasionally look around to examine the scene. I saw the area in front of the stage filling up with people. And I could tell they were Chris Sky's fans because they weren't wearing masks. Then I noticed the angle of the sun, it was gonna be directly behind the stage during the event. “Not good for photos” I thought, I have a little saying though, regarding photography, “If you can’t change it, use it”. So when it got closer to 6:00pm I put my notebook away, took out my camera and adjusted the settings to include the sun. I chose a Black & White setting as well. I hadn’t shot like that in a while, and figured it'd suit my mood. I made my way through the growing crowd which by then numbered well over a thousand. I tested my settings by shooting shots of signs that people planted in the grass behind the stage. And when I heard the announcer start things up I made my way to the front.
Beatrice Weir was one of the first guest speakers on the stage. She spoke about Covid-19 restrictions and how they mirrored the implementation of communism in her native country of Romania. She told us the first step towards communism was the closing down of churches. And the second was shutting down small businesses. She then expressed concern for her own business. She didn’t know how much longer it would last, but she promised (with a raised voice) that she’d fight for it until her last breath. Last breath? I thought, I wasn't expecting talk like that. She went on to tell us that the third thing the communists did in Romania was expropriate private property from the citizens. Which meant they had to apply to the government to buy a house or a car. Next was the displacement of agricultural communities, and how all the farming families were forced to live in housing projects that were built on the lands where churches once stood. She told us about wanting to leave Romania, but she needed permission from the communist party because they’d placed travel restrictions on the country. Certainly some parallels, I thought. Then she spoke directly to our Canadian leaders. She said with a stern voice “We are not going to run and hide in the mountains. We are not fleeing this country. We are staying right here and we are standing up against this organized crime run by self proclaimed health experts and a tyrannical government”. Then she shouted “IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, THEN GO!” The crowd was ramping up to that, and I was getting chills. She continued “We won’t ask you to stay, but if you do, Nuremberg 2.0 is coming” then she shouted, “YOU’VE BEEN WARNED
Her next message was directed to the news media, she said “Be brave. Be honest. Start reporting the truth. Be the first to set an example for the rest. Start earning an honest paycheque before you won’t be able to earn one anymore. You still have a chance to redeem yourselves before we are coming for your masters. And make no mistake we are taking them down ONE BY ONE!”. The crowd cheered to that. And I’ll admit, her bashing of the mainstream was a pleasure for me to hear as well. She carried on by issuing a reminder to the Provincial and Federal governments. Stating that they are not our masters and they only have as much power as we give them, and she shouted again saying “TODAY WE SAY, NO MORE POWER TO YOU” My chills intensified. I was stunned by her passion. And for a few moments I’d forgotten what I was there for. I missed some great shots, I’m, sure of it, but I was distracted. There was a force behind her voice that I’d never heard before. I just stood there and pondered it. Her voice was powered from somewhere else. A place that I’d never been before. As though fuelled by a feeling that I’d never felt. She then spoke directly to Justin Trudeau, “JUSTIN!" she said, "You have brought us as a nation to our knees with Your $1.5 trillion national debt. You have put Canada on a ventilator and we are trying to resuscitate it. Your love for, and allegiance to communism has been duly noted by all of us. Today, we Canadians are giving you a message” she shouted “WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH! We have played your game for over a year. Now it's our turn. We are not standing down anymore” shouting again “WE CAN’T BE SILENCED!, YOU CAN BE CANCELLED!, YOU CAN’T STOP US BECAUSE WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE!” the crowd erupted with applause and started chanting FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM! And just like that she was done. Beatrice nodded to the crowd, placed the microphone back on the stand and walked off the stage. I recall that moment very well. I snapped a few photos just in time, and my ear was no longer troubling me.
Later, a comedian was on the stage. 'Alex The Comic' is what he calls himself. It was during Alex’s set that I noticed a festive feel was in the air. With all the laughter, the sunshine and the growing crowd people were happy to be outside and mingling with one another. Alex told jokes about getting excited from seeing the entire face of a woman. And I agreed, it’s a rare sight to see these days with so many people wearing masks all the time. He also joked about flipping around the mainstream narrative, calling all mask wearers the conspiracy theorists for believing what the news is telling them. He went on for a while like that. Told some pretty good ones too. But I won’t repeat them here. After all they're his jokes, not mine.
Vlad Sobolev was the last guest speaker before Chris Sky. Vlad speaks with a slight Russian accent and told us many things. He’s the founder of ‘Hugs Over Masks’ which he explained as represents humanity over tyranny. Then he addressed his critics saying “As much as they wanna mark us Anti-Maskers, Anti-Vaxxers etc, we are pro humanity more then anything”. He went on to tell us that he formed another group called 'We Are All Essential'. A group for businesses formed to connect and empower business owners with knowledge so they won’t feel intimidated when choosing to exercise their rights.
Mentioning masks again, Vlad held up a few leaflets printed by British Columbia’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner. He explained that the leaflets are full of information regarding the rights that people have when confronted with the mandatory mask order that the BC government placed on all indoor public spaces. He encouraged everyone to stop by his booth later and pick up a few for themselves.
He went on to tell about his childhood growing up in the Soviet Union. And how the communist indoctrination he experienced there was eerily similar to the Covid-19 restrictions being forced on the children of Canada today. He called it Covidism.
He spoke of Ontario, his home province. Expressing gratitude to the many police departments for choosing to stand down during the Ontario governments recent attempt at Marshal Law. And told us that the Vancouver Police Departments is one the best in all of Canada, and asked for a round of applause for the VPD. The crowd complied with cheers and chanted VPD! VPD! VPD! Vlad joined in, pumping his fist in the air VPD! VPD! VPD!
Vlad also took the opportunity to publicly thank Chris Sky for taking action every single day. He said “I don’t know any other patriot across our country, working tirelessly to ensure that we have freedoms in our country. So Chris, on behalf of the whole of Canada we thank you so much” and the crowd erupted with cheers.
At this point I’d moved to the back of the stage to get a crowd shot. I did a count from back there and estimated estimated over two thousand people had shown up. They were all huddled tight too. And I could hardly make out where the crowd ended. I started making my way back towards the front as Vlad asked for Chris come up. I could hardly get through the crowd. It had gotten so tight, I wondered if Chris could even get there. Vlad was talking about the importance of all of us coming together so the government can not dismantle the middle class. As I found a spot at the front of the stage, Vlad said “When you have independent people, the tyrannical government can not exist”. Then looking to his left, he called again for Chris to come to the stage. He turned towards the front and started an introduction. “It’s been a privilege to fight the tyranny shoulder to shoulder with this man of action. Tirelessly, he never sleeps. Does what ever he can. Travels across the country. Nothing can stop him” Vlad looked again to his left, saying “He’s on fire!. He’s unstoppable.” then he paused, there was silence. He lowered the microphone and I heard him say to someone near the stage “Just get him” then speaking into the mic and directly to Chris, he said “Just come up here” Vlad looked forward to the crowd “OK EVERYBODY!” He said as he lifted his fist in the air, and shouted the now famous Chris Sky hashtag “JUST SAY NO, JUST SAY NO” the crowd instantly joined in the chant “JUST SAY NO, JUST SAY NO” the chant grew louder “JUST SAY NO, JUST SAY NO, JUST SAY NO” as the crowd continued the chant Vlad shouted “PLEASE GIVE IT UP FOR CHRIS SKY EVERYBODY!” And the crowd went nuts, some still chanting, other whistling. I even heard howling. It was like a rock concert. Then Chris appeared out of nowhere, bursting onto the stage. I got my first in person sight of him. He’s a lot smaller than I expected. Vlad handed Chris the microphone. The two men hugged, and the crowd grew even louder.
Chris was smiling as looked out over the crowd. Pacing back and forth, he said, “Wow” drawing more cheers from the crowd. Still pacing, “I almost don’t even know what to say” and giggled. A woman from the crowd yelled. “SAY YOU’LL COME BACK TO VANCOUVER” someone else shouted “CHRIS SKY FOR PRIME MINISTER” He continued pacing “I was expecting a warm welcome" he said "but this is…… this is something else”, and joked about only coming to Vancouver because it was 04/20.
He started off by telling us about the various challenges he’d recently gone through. About the 40 or so police officers that came to his home to try and arrest him. About being put on the international no fly list. About being added to a terrorist watch list, and the canceling of his Instagram account and website, at which point he asked all the people in the crowd to pull out their phones and go to his new website and sign up. He went on to say that all these challenges placed on him show that someone is terrified. And the reason for being terrified is because of the message he brings. Saying “Because, if everyone starts acting like me, this is over before I could finish this speech” (referring to all the Covid-19 restrictions) He explained that Covid-19 restrictions are not about health and safety but rather, control. Saying “Control of you financially by closing your business, making you dependant on the government. Then pushing threw universal basic income, making us all slaves to a government that no longer serves us, it rules us” He continued to talk about Covid-19 being a vehicle to remove the rights we Canadians have that millions of people fought and died for. He told us that we gave up our rights and freedoms because we were scared. “Scared and wanted Safety” he said “And now they're gonna tell ya, if you want those rights back, you're gonna have to take a vaccine and submit to a vaccine passport”. The crowd booed, Chris continued, “And the government doesn’t want you to know the most critical thing. You know the most important of all this is?” He asked, and with out waiting for an answer he said “You all have the power to just” he paused for a moment and the crowd shouted with him, “JUST SAY NO” He explained the term United Non-Compliance. Telling us that we all have rights and encouraged people to take action. “It’s about identifying the problem” he said “And it’s about taking action through organization and implementation. What do I mean by that? He asked. Then pointed out the various parts of our society that he said are under attack. Starting with small businesses. He explained that all small businesses are essential because business owners use their business to provide for their basic needs and for securing a future for their children. “There is NOTHING more essential then the future of our children” he said “And if we allow the government to pick winners and losers, we all loose” Using Alberta’s beauty salons as an example, he explained that the Alberta government declared beauty salons essential because their owners were united in non-compliance during the first lockdown. So he called on BC business owners to organize a non-compliant group, and grow the group to a couple hundred, then decide for themselves when they’re going to open. “What are they gonna do? He asked “Are they gonna come to two hundred businesses with their bylaw officers? The crowd cheered and shouted “NO”.
He then called on concerned parents, saying “A parent should be willing to take a bullet for their child, and 95% of Canadian parents aren’t even willing to stand up to a school principal” He encouraged parents to get organized, to hire legal representation, and confront various school boards across the province. To challenge the school boards about mask wearing mandates, and the upcoming mandatory testing and vaccinations.
The next group he called upon, he said “Is probably the most important for stopping the vaccine passport” Saying that the government intends to use employment to coerce us into complying with the vaccine passport. He predicted that the government will encourage companies to send home employees with no pay if they refuse the Covid-19 vaccine. And he went on to explain a recent law passed by the government making it legal for companies to do so. The crowd booed again. And a woman from behind the stage shouted “SAY NO TO THE PRICK!” Then Chis (along with anyone else within hearing distance) broke into laughter. Chris said with a smile “Say no to the Prick(s), in general” He continued, to call on employees to form an organized group and assemble a legal team to go after Unions and Corporations. “We have privacy laws” he said “We have our Bill of Rights. We have our Charter Of Rights And Freedoms. These are the things that they don’t want you to know about. And these are the protections that were put in place specifically for times like these, when a government tries to overstep their authority and implement things upon you, which are against your own best interest”.
He suggested another group to get organized, calling for mask free shopping, and encouraged that people go shopping with no masks in groups of ten, and claim a medical exemption. Saying that stores can’t deal with ten maskless shoppers at once.
He then spoke directly to the critics of the movement saying “To all the people out there that keep saying (Oh you guys not complying are prolonging this) NO” he shouted “ITS THE EXACT OPPOSITE!”
He then listed a few more of his predictions. Things like a digital currency, a social credit score, and a Chinese Communist style dictatorship. And pointed at Justin Trudeau’s admiration for the Chinese Communist Party.
He finished off his speech telling us that every time he visits a new city, he sees the movement is growing. Then he said “The tide is turning. The people are awake. Now it’s about making them get off their ass and do what has to be done. To preserve their country. Preserve their freedom, and save the future for our children” The crowd erupted into loud cheers with more whistling and howling, followed by the whole audience chanting, "FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" And that was it, he was done, and walked off the stage.
He spent the rest of the evening mingling with the crowd. I went to where he was, stood back and watched. He posed for selfies, shook hands and hugged. He never said no, and was always surrounded by adoring fans. He did interviews with the media and answered questions from various individual. He was happy to do it all. The faces around him kept changing. There was always new people waiting their turn. And this went on for hours. I stood there watching a man who may or may not realize that he’s more than a person to these people. He’s tapped into something that (only a short time ago) was beyond their view and beyond their grasp. To them, he’s providing a paved path out of the restrictions. A set of actions they can take to win back their freedom. Telling them what they can do, how they can do it, and what the results will be. Chris Sky is a man at the centre of a movement. What the movement is exactly? I’m not sure. Is it a civil rights movement? Maybe... Is it s anti-Communist movement? Perhaps.... Or is it simply an anti-Covid-19 restrictions movement with various spectrum agendas? Either way, this movement has a figure head named Chris Sky. A man who (I've since learned) inspires people across the country and empowers other figure heads along the way to get organized and take back what belongs to them.
That evening at Sunset Beach was the first time in ages that I’d seen so many happy people. And the first time in ages that I heard the roar of a crowd. There was more than speeches in the air that night. Chris Sky brought with him something else and he sprinkled it over everybody. He might very well be the point of the Canadian freedom arrow. Like that first warm sunbeam that we feel after a long, cold winter. The first warm sunbeam that reminds us things will be blooming soon and that a new Canadian summer is on the way. Chris might be the first spring sunbeam that wakes up the dormant Canadian wilderness as it warms its way across our northern Sky.