When our TBL Administrator was growing up, she naturally thought that the best way to avoid getting a darker complexion was to cover up her body and avoid the sun at all cost.–and that this was a good thing, even encouraged. It wasn’t until she was around nine when she realized that her skin tone would never be “lighter.” And honestly, this is still a struggle that she deals with from time to time.
Understanding race relations as a social construct is a struggle for many individuals who are considered “other.” They live in divided worlds trying to act or fit in with peers who they are told they are equal to; and yet, they are caught in narratives that begin and end with the color of their skin.
So what does this have to do with photography? “A picture is worth a thousand words” or so the saying goes…
I attended the “My Brothers Keepers Boston” Summit a few weeks ago. About 500 people turned out. I can’t explain the intended message because that not my place but I enjoyed myself. I have been looking out for imagery to be posted from portions of the event and haven’t found many, which is surprising with so many photographers there. Below are a few on my shots. I didn’t take many but I think the few I did capture illustrate the intensity of listening and thinking going on by all who attended.
People asked if any men other then myself attended the LIPSTICK event. Five men attended. Here’s a photo of one, Rev. Odom, taken a few moments before he stood and spoke about the loss of his 13-year-old son. He spoke about how his family encourages him to go from mourning to celebration of the gifts his son was able to give during his short 13 years- on this anniversary of his death.
Last week I had the pleasure of sponsoring a “take care of you” event for the LIPSTICK (Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner City killings): Women who have lost love ones to violence. My hope was that they might pause for a moment to pamper themselves. I wanted them to remember as they continue to build their organization, what my mentor Marc always says which is “letting go is not giving up”.
“Letting go is surrendering any obsessive attachment to particular outcomes and situations. Surrender means showing up every day for your life with the intention to be your best self, and to do the best you know how, without expecting life to go a certain way. Have goals, have dreams, aspire, take purposeful action and build great relationships, but detach from what you think life must look like. The energy of someone aspiring to create something wonderful, teamed with this kind of surrender, is far more powerful and rewarding than someone determined to create outcomes with a desperate ‘must have’ mentality. Surrender brings inner peace and joy, and lest we forget that our outer lives are a reflection of our inner state of being.”
I brought my camera and even though they had an amazing photographer on deck with whom I didn’t want to interfere… I couldn’t help myself when they started to write the name and tell the stories of their love ones taken away by violence on a memory wall. The emotion moved me and I wanted others to feel the mixture of pain and love that was so evident in these women honoring their lost souls…so I took a few shots and I will share them with you here now.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and understand that while Ferguson and New York are the focus of today, we must not forget the pain and love of our neighbors who have also lost their hearts to violence.