The Pandemic, The Pandemonium & The Protests

When America and the world look back at the Year 2020 a year from now, or a decade from now, we may collectively wonder how we persevered.

In the first five months of this year, we have all suffered from a pandemic that is still very much on the forefront of our daily realities, regardless of where one resides on this planet.

Even as the United States continues to grapple with the increasing number of cases and unfortunate deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has resulted in a catastrophic statistic of 40 million unemployed people (and growing), it appears one specific and horrific event in Minneapolis, Minnesota unequivocally confiscated the attention of the nation as well as the world.

On May 25th, which was Memorial Day in the States, one video captured on a woman’s cellphone recorded the death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. Although such an event is gruesomely commonplace in American society, this particular, obscene act of injustice irked the collective nerves of millions who viewed the video. We all saw, in stunned horror, a human life asphyxiated because the police officer refused to remove his knee pressed against George Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. To make matters much, much worse, another damning video reveals three additional police officers who appear to contribute to the live lynching.

Since Memorial Day, America has both figuratively and literally erupted in an unforgiving fury that has swept the streets of its major metropolises as well as smaller towns across 50 states and the District of Columbia. Keep in mind that the pandemic still rages and claims lives, while the national economy, by way of unemployment claims, inches ever closer to levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In spite of these coincidental yet clear and present crises, a majority of Americans of all ethnicities and walks of life have made their stance known en masse — the interminable injustice exercised by law enforcement on black men and black women must come to an end. Evidently, not even a pandemic without a vaccine will deny or deter the people’s relentless determination to express their First Amendment rights, which underscores how important and crucial this moment truly is.

Personally, I have struggled with what I have witnessed and observed. My emotions have changed as frequently as the multiple shapes and patterns one would view via a kaleidoscope. For my own benefit, and for the sake of objectivity, I will not share my personal thoughts in this article.

Nevertheless, similar to Seattle’s citywide quarantine imposed as a result of the contagious coronavirus, I felt it was important to document this very significant inflection point in American history and affairs via photography. The result is my latest photo essay featuring images of the protests against police brutality at Cal Anderson Park and Pine Street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, which you can view below. Please click on any thumbnail image to view a larger version.

At times, my mind wonders where the nation would be if that initial video was never recorded and disseminated online.

In conclusion, whatever anyone considered “normal” or “normalcy” probably culminated, unbeknownst to millions of us, somewhere between December 2019 and March 2020. As a result, I believe it would be folly to assume 2020 has finished with its revelations, or that our own respective reckonings will recede anytime soon.

Thanks for reading this article. If you enjoyed the photographs here, please visit my official website @ www.tia-international-photography.com for an indelible, visual experience.

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