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On July 25, 2020 my oldest child, kid number one (KNO), and I went to a protest called The People's March in Harlem. Despite the coronavirus pandemic and other pressing concerns, protests on a number of issues--police brutality, cancelling rent, violence against transgender people--have been consistently occurring in New York City and around the country. For myself and KNO, we wanted to attend one that we felt we could safely travel to, and that spoke to our respective concerns. It also gave us a chance to do that parent-child bonding thing.

Travel-wise it wasn't too difficult to get to. The weather was hot and humid, but not overly so. When we arrived we noticed that the march was a lot smaller than we had imagined. Thinking back, I guess that's to be expected. As I mentioned, there's a lot of rallies and protests going on. At the time, it had been close to two months of continuous protests occurring, with an average (based on my limited knowledge) of 3-5 happening each day throughout the five boroughs. Also, the last couple of protests I went to were organized and sponsored by well-known groups.

This one appeared to be conducted by local organizers. This bore out during the beginning when speakers began to address the crowd. All were from Harlem/East Harlem. Also, this rally wasn't tied to a specific event or holiday such as this year's Queer Liberation March for Black Lives and Against Police Brutality While not a huge crowd in the end a fair amount of people came and supported the effort.

I appreciated the fact that it was well organized. The event organizers had hand sanitizer, sunscreen, snacks, and lots of water available for everyone. Clearly, people had different roles and responsibilities. Some were part of the bike patrol, helping to close streets so marchers could safely walk through intersections. Others helped with the call and response, amplifying the messages being transmitted by the march leaders. They were good at what they were doing. In addition to being well prepared, they brought energy and gusto. No mean feat in the hot and humid New York City sun. Along with everything else, the backgrounds of the organizers were diverse. One was formerly incarcerated. Another is a sex worker. One's a student at Harvard University. All were focused on fighting for justice, with and for each other. It was a beautiful thing to see. The kids, as they say, are going to be alright.

And that's how we spent the day, literally. We left our house around 11:15 am and didn't get back home until almost 6 o'clock. KNO and I participated in The People's March for as long as we physically could. I enjoyed it but it was a workout for sure! KNO enjoyed it also. I'm proud of them for wanting to be a part of the solution. For me, I got lots of pictures and video. A lot of what I shot isn't that great, to be honest! But I'm a one man operation using the tools that I have, some of which I'm still figuring out. Oh well... I did get a few photos and video footage that I'm happy with. And I was able to put together enough footage to create the attached video clip highlighting the event.

On a related note: this stage of the pandemic has me anxious. Partly due to the fact that it's not being properly addressed (ugh!), but it being summertime I'm seeing folks not really adhering to maintaining physical distance or wearing masks as they should. Attending protests and rallies makes me anxious, too. To be clear, they're not the problem, but a reflection of deep rooted issues--the totally decimated social safety net, the devaluation of Black and Brown bodies, leadership failures on a number of levels. It's really, really bad. While anxiety inducing, protests are a way to address the issues I described.

I'm fortunate that in certain respects I managed to avoid a lot of hardships but that doesn't mean that I don't see the problems and feel them in other ways. I want to do something. I want to be a part of the solution. Which is why I go to these protests, which is why I try to donate when I can, which is why I have raised my voice to my community of folks to really open their eyes. I want them to see and understand, so they can also do the work needed in order for them to also be part of the solution. So I'll keep doing that.

For you: as you march, protest, call your representatives, or otherwise engage in our democracy, I would ask that you remember also to be patient, kind, and protect fiercely those around you from those that choose to be cruel. We need all we can of that.

Be safe everyone.

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Creative Chaos Photography

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