During the last two weeks, Black Lives Matter protests have erupted worldwide, condemning the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. I am in total support, and would document the protestors marching through the streets of NYC, but due to the coronavirus, I can only join them in spirit.
But there was a small vigil in Queensbridge Park one evening last week where (with my mask on) I was able to create this EXTREMELY socially distant reportage. In the shadow of the 59th St. bridge and the Manhattan skyline, the relatively small group stood in a silent ring watching the evening sky, holding their signs up to the golden light.
Then, with the police forming a circle around them, they took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, marking the amount of time that George Floyd suffered under the knee of the Minneapolis cop.
When the 8 minutes 46 seconds were over, they stood, silently, and held their signs aloft again. I heard someone in the center call out, “Say their names!” and the group recited the most recent names from a long list of victims of systemic racism: “George Floyd” – “Breonna Taylor” – “Ahmaud Arbery.”
And then, silence again. Just before sunset the group began to disperse, and one sign caught my eye:
“Let the Power Fall.”
It was very peaceful, and quite moving. Even at a distance, the emotion was palpable.