Initially, I had no intention of attending the protests because of COVID 19. I really wanted to be out there but after being quarantined for weeks, I couldn’t risk the health of myself and others.
However, I’m extremely empathic and after hours of watching live footage of police brutality toward peaceful protestors – I finally cracked and joined the others in the streets. I realized my fear was intertwined with guilt and that sacrificing my body on the frontline was the least I could do.
As a white person, I don’t feel it’s my right to speak on the behalf of this movement. Contrarily, as a filmmaker, I feel it is my artistic duty to preserve such a heartbreakingly profound moment in history through my female lens. I wanted to do my best to document this spontaneous, bottom-up movement in a raw and honest way. Some of these images are not pretty to look at but that’s the point, as it is important to see the emotional pain that has manifested into physical reality.
I asked some of my beautiful, smart, and talented black friends to lend me their voice for this series. This movement is theirs and I am merely here to listen, learn, and be an ally in their search for justice.
Photos & all photos shot on Yashica t4 on 35mm film by Ericka Clevenger
“This is more than just a black or white issue, it’s an issue of what’s right and wrong. Everybody deserves to be and live comfortably in “America” no matter how you look or where you’re from.” – @johhnyg_
“To fear the power within us is to fear the power of creation.” -@jacindalmft
“We can’t stop now. We have to make sure every business feels unsafe to have glass windows until BLM!” – Maya Songbird. Oakland, CA. @theweirdestmaya @mayasmagicshop
“Finally” – @dajarene
“If you want it, fight for it” – @billyonairee
“To build a better future, we must tear down our past.” –@cassrussell24
“I feel equal parts rage, pride and hope. I’ve cried tears of joy seeing so many people of all backgrounds come together for my people and I’ve cried tears of rage watching our country hold onto racism for dear life.” – @edwina.nicole
“Black lives > Capitalism”
“The injustice we face every day as black people in America makes every breath we take that much more valuable.” – @inkmybodylikeapicture
“My skin screams for freedom” – Anonymous
“Our ancestors and descendants are watching! When people took to the LA streets in 65’ and 92’ to protest police brutality and racial inequality, not much changed. It now falls on our shoulders to do the work. Change is NOW! Fists up!” –@missbiancalemaire