For many in the United States, the present moment is a reckoning for the institutional racism that has plagued the country for centuries. In more than 150 cities, people have taken to the streets and are calling for an end to police brutality and historic racial injustice. The demonstrations were sparked by the on-camera killing of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis in May after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The outpouring of anger and hurt over Floyd’s death has fueled the Black Lives Matter movement towards changing policing in the US. In Minneapolis, the city council has vowed to dismantle its police department and establish a community-based public safety system in its place.In other cities across the country, protesters continue to make their voices heard. Amid the demonstrations are photographers who have been quick to bear witness to history in the making, capturing the tension between the authorities and the public, scenes of solidarity between protestors, and an outpouring of emotion in the streets.Take a look below at some of the photographers that are documenting an important moment in history and bringing BLM into focus.
“A fist and the State” is how Philip Keith captioned his photograph of a demonstrator in Boston framed by a police helicopter flying overhead. Thousands have marched throughout the city to call out police brutality and to bring about racial justice. Keith’s photos also show organizers addressing demonstrators and police officers patrolling public areas. When asked about the meaning behind the image, Philip told Pixsy that; “That image means a lot to me. It just became so striking to me that a gesture could have such depth and multiple meanings. The man pictured above, was actually just reaching above my head to greet a friend with a 'pound', and encapsulated in the frame, with the helicopter above it transformed itself into resistance. Almost to suggest our strength is in our unity.”
Nora Williams is a photojournalist and portrait artist who has been documenting the Black Lives Matter Movement on the East Coast. The photo below was taken at the march on Washington in August and is accompanied by the quote, “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears, your actions louder than your words and your faith stronger than your feelings.” Check out her work below.
Patience Zalanga’s images are vivid, intense, and capture the raw emotions that flood the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The same city where George Floyd was killed at the hands of the local police. She’s captured some of the key moments that unfolded in Minneapolis after Floyd's death.
The South, including cities like Lynsey Weatherspoon’s hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, has witnessed racial tension for centuries. They were also an important starting point for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Lynsey has documented BLM protests across her home state, including the actions of far-right groups.
Amir is a photographer for the Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj as well as a photojournalist for the New York Times among many other major publications. As a resident of New York City Amir has documented a number of Black Lives Matter protests across the metropolis, including the march across Brooklyn bridge below.
The last Instagram account on this list isn’t an individual but the Black Lives Matter global network itself. BLM is a call to action to "eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes." It’s up to everyone in our connected society to stay informed about matters that are affecting Black Communities around the world and to be anti-racist in our actions. Founded in 2013, by three radical Black organizers — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters.