How One Photo Quietly Says Black Lives Matter

Photo Credit : Gordon Parks

Eloquent resistance. These two words somersault in my mind as I study Gordon Parks deceptively simple photographic portrayal of a mother and her daughter in segregated America, circa 1955.

In her own way, this striking and elegant woman refutes the American narrative about people of color – illiterate and undignified.

She and her daughter stand in subtle defiance, shattering  long  held  assumptions about black women and girls – unfeminine, ugly, and invisible.

Despite living under legal segregation, they assert, with their bodies, we refuse your vulgar categorizations.

We are here. We will not cower under the weight of hatred. We matter immensely.

This is the essence of  today’s Black Lives Matter movement; the right to simply exist, beyond the barriers of hatred and fear, because at the core, even within our differences, there lies a shared humanity.

When we refuse to see one another, genuinely see another person, we extinguish ourselves, our own light. If I tell you your life does not matter, I run from myself, constructing an identity that is married to your pain, struggle and subjugation.

Let us come to realize not only our own worth, but the value of other black lives and experiences who are marginalized, creating a world where no voice is silenced.

Emelda De Coteau
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