Aerial Art Event creates “Star Man” visible only from the air near San Onofre nuclear plant

On Saturday June 9, the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation,  conducted a peaceful ceremony and massive Aerial Art display created by internationally renowned Aerial Artist, John Quigley, with video by award-winning director and film maker Kurt Soderling.

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The Aerial Art display, which could only be seen from the air, was made entirely of human bodies and surfboards by beach goers and members of the Acjachemen Nation.  The event, titled Acjachemen Wisdom Day, and sponsored by Public Watchdogs, is designed to draw international media attention to the fact that deadly radioactive nuclear waste waste is being buried in beachfront concrete silos on sacred burial grounds 108 feet from the crashing surf and sparkling sugar sand beaches at the San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump in Northern San Diego County.

The Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Acjachemen Nation and hundreds of concerned citizens gather to form their ancestral “Star Man” and the word “SAFETY?!” on San Onofre State Beach on June 9, 2018. The human banner was meant to shed light on the decommissioning process of the nearby San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant which organizers say could have a devastating impact on Southern California and future genterations. The event was part of the Acjachemen Wisdom Day celebration supported by Public Watchdogs. Handout/Lou Dematteis/Spectral Q.   For a higher resolution image, click here.   Click here for a cropped higher resolution image.

With the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in the far background, members of the indigenous Acjachemen Nation and hundreds of supporters create a human banner reading “SAFETY?!” on San Onofre State Beach on June 9, 2018. The participants are calling for the safe containment and removal of the nuclear waste generated by the plant. The event was part of the Acjachemen Wisdom Day celebration supported by Public Watchdogs. Handout/Lou Dematteis/Spectral Q.  For a higher resolution image, click here.

“For generations the Acjachemen people have taken care of these lands and they have taken care of us,” said Tribal Chairwoman Teresa M. Romero. “Now, the time has come for us to share the sacred obligation of caretaking with all people of Southern California. There is SAFETY in numbers.”

According to, Adelia Sandoval, Cultural Director of the Acjachemen Nation, “Acjachemen Wisdom Day isn’t about the Acjachemen people alone. It is a day to have a big voice, a big heart for all of us! It is a day to call on the deepest part of us, that part which is connected to the ancient ways of all people. It is a day to remind ourselves to honor our sacred oceans, our precious Mother Earth, and to reclaim that innocence that is in each of us!”

Aerial art: alive, powerful, and temporary
Aerial artist John Quigley of Spectral Q says, “It’s an honor working with the Acjachemen Nation to create their Star man calling for the safety of the land, water, and our children.  May their wisdom inspire political and corporate leaders to step up to ensure a real solution for the safe containment and removal of the radioactive waste by San Onofre.”

The aerial art display will involve hundreds of enrolled members of the tribe, along with a contingent of  citizens concerned about nuclear waste.  The event is a peaceful effort to draw attention to the Acjachemen’s status as a sovereign indigenous nation, and to the fact that Federal bureaucrats have ordered the disposal of 3.6 million pounds of deadly radioactive waste on the tribe’s ancestral beach and burial grounds at the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station known as “SONGS.”

Deadly for 250,000 years
More than three million pounds of plutonium and uranium  waste are being stored at San Onofre fewer than 108 feet from the beach. The waste is deadly for at least 250,000 years. A single pound of plutonium is so toxic that it could give everyone on the planet cancer if it was spread evenly over the surface of the earth.

Containers that are designed to fail
Warranty documents obtained by the advocacy group San Onofre Safety show that the storage cans at San Onofre are only guaranteed to last 25 years. Each of the 72 cans at San Onofre contains as much radiation as what was released during the Chernobyl disaster.  Currently, the deadly radioactive waste is being stored in delicate stainless steel trash cans made of thin-walled 5/8” thick stainless steel 108 feet from the beach that was the birth place of American surf culture.

Event organizer, Charles Langley, of Public Watchdogs, which is helping to fund and organize the gathering, says “This beach is a national treasure of heartbreaking beauty, but is also a nuclear waste graveyard.”

According to Nina Babiarz, a Public Watchdogs Board Member, and author of a 450-page report on the failed emergency planning at San Onofre, “This beach is the worst place in America to put a nuclear waste dump. Southern California Edison secured massive emergency planning  exemptions.  There are approximately 14 nuclear reactors being decommissioned in the USA right now.  If  they get away with putting this waste on California’s most pristine beach it sets a dangerous  national precedent.”

Geologically unsafe:  According to Public Watchdogs’ Geologist, Robert Pope, the risk of a nuclear incident at San Onofre is unavoidable, given the area’s fragile geology.

For more information or to arrange interviews with Acjachemen elders, artist John Quigley,  or event organizers, contact Charles Langley at (858) 752-4600.

For B-Roll and other photos, click here.  For Helicopter video by videographer Kurt Soderling, click here  and here

For background or to arrange interviews with participants contact Charles Langley at (858) 752-4600

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