A black man was killed last week and we all saw it.
The world was shaken by the televised murder of George Floyd. A man, whose only alleged crime was using a forged $20 bill, took a knee to the throat and was eternally silenced as he cried out for his dead mother. Now an incandescent society is propelling a movement demanding justice, for not only his death, but the death of hundreds of black people at the hands of police -both on and off camera- while addressing systematic oppression dating back 400 years.
Some non-BIPOC's have observed silence as to not be intrusive and allow black voices to resound their echoes of hurt and anger, while others have felt hopeless not knowing how to help. However, (and this may be an oversimplification of the current sentiments towards the issue) feelings of powerlessness are no excuse to remain quiet. This is why I wanted to document my city rise up to challenge injustice, and remind others that we have a responsibility to use whatever resources available to us as well as the privileges allotted to us to make whatever change possible.
This is why I photograph.
I, too, felt like it wasn't my place to document, because the oppression of blacks was not my story to tell. However, it is a truth that needs to be spoken and heard through a choir of voices rather than the whispers of a few.
But to better document, it's important to do research on the events leading up to the protests starting with the hundreds of years of anti-black violence and white supremacy.
One must also understand that a protest is a place to stand together, be heard and fight for a cause. It's a place where grieving hearts can seek shelter within one another and express themselves. This means that as a photographer, it's our job to respect their privacy. I did my best to not intentionally photograph or publish portraits of protestors unless I had their consent. I also tried to only photograph those wearing face coverings or looked non-distinguishable, and I did so from a distance.
One thing to remember is that it a privilege to photograph and chronicle these historic events as they take place. This isn't about trying to take the best photo, its about documenting a movement. It's protestor first, and then photographer. The first half of my time at the protest, I didn't photograph a single thing because I was there to learn. I only began shooting after things began to escalate between protestors, police, and counter-protestors. By then, I figured if anything liable were to occur in that instant, the world would need proof and I'd be the one to provide it.
So this is it. These are the photographs I shot at the protest in San Antonio on May 30, 2020. I can only hope they are respectful enough and give these voices some justice.