durham, nc

Durham NC, PD

Tonight I went to a protest for police brutality in Durham, NC. We met at some center and marched in the streets for like an hour to Duke Univ. Gonna try to make the story short and to the point.
The protest was peaceful. We marched. We chanted. We beat drums in the street. It was a lot of people but not EVEN 100-80 were out there in my guesstimation. Like it was under that amount. Small compared to many protests. Which is why what happened nested surprised me. I get cops come to protests but I swear to god yall we were such a small group, like it was a small March of people.

Anyways when we turn on one street after marching a long time, I see blue lights. And I see police cars. So I know it’s for us. Did I think anything would happen? No. We were about as peaceful as you could get. We literally high fived passerbyers in their cars who supported us.

Within 60 seconds of me seeing cops. All of the protestors tightened up together. I pulled out my phone. Because I’ve seen the vids in Ferguson. Film the police. Even if they don’t get indicted FILM THESE CORRUPT PIGS. I stand by that. I pulled out my phone and turned the video on. I capture 5 minutes. And within the next 5 minutes everything got bad.

The police lined up in full riot gear. Masks. Helmets. Guns. Vests.
I wasn’t scared though. I wasn’t scared because we weren’t out of line. We didn’t destruct or touch anything.

Next thing you know an intercom comes on “this is the police you need to turn around get out the street”. Then they release off this LOUD piercing noise. Trying to deafen us. It didn’t work. It didn’t even work on me. We continued chanting HANDS UP DONT SHOOT! HANDS UP DONT SHOOT!

They make their statement again. Then they release more piercing noise. This time I didn’t even close my ears. Part of me feared what was next. I had never experienced a protest that wasn’t peaceful.

Well, suddenly the police force charged towards us, the protestors in the frontlines barring the brute. They were immediately tackled and hit. Yes. Police hitting them and slamming them in the pavement. Some people said they saw wooden batons. I closed my eyes for a second and screamed. A guy was right in front of me being hurt. I tried to film it as my video recorder was still running. Then more started running my way. Protestors yelled for us to keep running. Signs hit the ground. Signs that said “I can’t breath” “black lives matter” and “how to get away with murder: become a cop”.

They hit the ground and I hope each and every cop saw them. We run and I’m running with people and I suddenly see more cops in front of me tackling more protestors. And at this point I’m shocked and angry. They tell us to leave. We run to leave. And they run and tackle us for doing so. So I stopped running. At that point running from them would be like running from a deranged Rottweiler. So I walk and I’m yelling for my friends and crying along with other people. I really start to break down at this point because of all the power these police had.

More people got tackled. More happened after that, that I’m not ready to fully share. Because let’s just say I had an emotional break down and stopped to yell at this one particular cop. He was Black. And we were protesting for Black lives unrightfully taken. Long story short I told him it could be YOU or your son or your daughter. He heard me is all I will say on that.

The point of this post is that, it’s true. Police incite riots. They incite riots. POLICE. INCITE. RIOTS. We were marching in a line. There were journalists and photographers of course running along capturing it but nothing out of the ordinary. Get this- no one even SCREAMED obscenities at us. We were met with smiles. Workers ran out from a food place and chanted with us. It was all love. And peace. And these police came. And physically harmed a lot of us out there tonight. Durham PD really are some savages. And I witnessed that first hand. Stop reading CNN or Fox or relying on this mainstream news to see shit like “protestors riot”. NO. POLICE riot. They incite riot. The only chaos we were in was fearfully scattering away from cops and their hatred towards us.

And to the Black cop out there tonight who replied to me coldly: your badge, and your helmet and your gun means nothing. You could’ve been racially profiled. You STILL can be racially profiled. You can STILL fit the description. So can your son. Your nephew. Your DAUGHTER. Your wife. Your brothers on the street are still a statistic and whether you like it or not you’re a brother too. Don’t your fellow cops haven’t racially profiled someone who looks just like you.

Okay. Rant over. Just describing the protest last night. It was pretty emotional. A lot of people were upset. I hate I even shed a tear over those cops but I indeed did. And shoutout to all the protestors who comforted each other and asked if everyone was okay. Like I said. All love and peace. All we want is peace, equality, and police reform. Because this isn’t okay.

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Catherine Opie 

Melissa & Lake,

Durham North Carolina (from the Domestic series),

1998. Chromogenic print

In 1998, Opie traveled cross-country in her motor home for two months in order to photograph lesbian couples. This series, called Domestic—of which Melissa & Lake, Durham, North Carolina is an example—presents these couples involved in everyday, household activities: relaxing in their backyard, hanging out in their kitchen, playing with their children. There is no sensationalism here. Much like the formal studio portraits before them, these intimate photographs speak both to Opie’s identification with her subjects and to the overwhelming absence of such images in mainstream representations.

Phew!

I’m finally back in NC, after a huge business trip to NY that included…

…really, really fancy ceilings…

(And this is just the entryway!)

…nice businesspeople who run super fast…

(This lady wins every year, and always smiles for us. She rocks.)

…creepy window dolls…

(Why are these a thing? Is this gas station possessed?)

…and surreal car trips. 

Time to get back to queueing SDM! 

(Oh, and if you want more weird photos – and you know you do – they’ll be going up on my art blog)