Trayvon Martin Protest, National Mall, Washington, DC, 8/24/2013.
This photo was taken after the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman acquittal protest, as people began to file for home. Historically, these sorts of photos have been done in black and white, perhaps to strip them of emotional content, or to lower the “truth value” and focus on the individual elements, or, perhaps more honestly, because monochrome was cheap and easy and color was neither. But when you add back in the color, when you keep the nuanced skin tones or see the vigorous green of the trees, you understand this wasn’t a cold protest and a stark memory. Rather, it was a photo of people — people who took the time to stand and say, “We won’t forget you.” And we haven’t. These people deserve to be remembered as they were, just as Trayvon deserved not to be filed away under monochromatic indifference.
Life isn’t black and white. Life isn’t simple. Life isn’t easy. It’s hard; it’s messy; the chemicals stain your fingers and give you cancer. Life deserves color, and I, for one, will always paint it that way.
P.S. Fuck George Zimmerman