Shortly after the murder of George Floyd, I decided I wanted to help support the Black Lives Matter movement in some way. I started by watching and listening, trying to educate myself. Then I began this personal portrait project. I welcomed protesters into my studio during protests on the common in Plymouth, NH. I listened to peoples’ stories and shared their portraits. I hope that these portraits will be an invitation to every viewer to look closer. A closer look often creates empathy. Empathy creates understanding. Understanding builds community. As a collective project, I hope that these portraits also communicate the sense of unity that I see, among everyone who stands in protest for a better country for all of us. Here are the images from July 4.
“I believe in the tenet that we are all equal. I’m saddened that we still have to make this point. I’m doing a lot of examination of my own privilege.” – Cynthia
“I’m tired of mourning the deaths of my race. I want to fight for everyone.” – Sydney
“I protest because I do not tolerate racism. I am of Jewish descent and was born in Richmond, Virginia. I was forced to learn the Lost Cause false historical narrative propagated by the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Virginia Textbook Commission. I denounce the monuments to slavery in my home and instead choose to focus on slave rebellions.” – Lindsey
“I am protesting because I think we have lived too long with racism as an abiding though hidden principle of our country. We need to realize that slavery was the economic principle and founding son of our nation and until we rout it out we will never be free. It is time to do this!” – Susan
“I was raised as religious as they come by racist parents. I acknowledge my white privilege. I’m just trying to make amends, I guess.” – Rebekah
“Life is inherently unfair for people of color. I want to do my part to rectify that.” – Sean
“I’m protesting because of a lifetime of memories.” – Samuel
“I’m an immigration activist. I came to the US in 2001 after 9/11. I was undocumented for five years. I became a US citizen four years ago, on the 4th of July. Because I used to be “one of those guys,” I use my privilege as a citizen to help the people in line behind me.” – Sebastian
“I’m a black woman. This is my first time in New Hampshire. I see a problem and I want to be a part of the solution.” – Jayla
“I think we need to lift up black and brown people, and promote their voices.” – Andru
“I don’t want to have this conversation with my kids. I don’t want my kids to have to do this same thing. My grandmother passed at age 100. I don’t know if I wish she were here to see this because she’d be proud that we are fighting, but she would be weary that we are still fighting.” – Samantha
Special thanks to Ashley Willumitus and Sean Wieboldt for assisting on this day.