Police brutality is a growing concern for many communities in North America, as police officers tend to be making dire decisions based on cultural stereotypes, fear, and ignorance. Considering the various cultures that are currently coexisting in the US, violence against black citizens has created an uncomfortable relationship between police officers and citizens of non-white lineage. Since officers are meant to bring safety and comfort to all communities, there is an undeniable need for some sort of change.
Iesha Evans stands peacefully, accepting her imminent arrest on July 9th 2016.
In Baton Rouge on July 5th 2016, Alton Sterling was killed by two police officers (Kwong, 2016). Although the victim had a firearm and criminal record, the officer's actions were called into question since they had shot him six times, despite him being pinned down by two of the officers (Kwong, 2016). Iesha Evans, a nurse and mother, decided to attend the protest against his death, as she felt the need to stand up not only for victims of police brutality, but for her six year old son's future, considering these occurrences were becoming more common than they should (Hensley, 2016). During the protest, Iesha calmly stood in front of officers in heavy riot gear, and was arrested for stepping into the street after the officers warned protesters to stay off of the road (CBS News, 2016). An interview later revealed what she had intended to say with her silence, stating the following:
"I'm human. I'm a woman. I'm a mom. I'm a nurse. I could be your nurse. I could be taking care of you. You know? I'm here. We all matter. We don't have to beg to matter. We do matter." (CBS News, 2016)
This statement speaks volumes for all communities and cultures oppressed by hateful and ignorant groups by making it clear that simply because they are different, they should not have to remind anyone that they are just as important as one another. The constant power struggles between different ethnic groups should be seen as unjustified, and yet court systems in North America tend to forgive officers for killing an unarmed and innocent member of another group out of fear or misunderstanding the situation at hand. Moreover, this image reminds the viewer of the issues of power, race, ethnicity, repression, and fear in modern society.
This image represents the strength, beauty, and resilience of these oppressed communities through Iesha's stance against armed officers. Her flowing dress, calm stature, and undeniable grace makes her appear more divine or god-like in contrast to the armed officers. In a way, the lighting, position, and overall composition of the image makes Iesha appear to be a symbol of hope and peace. Consequently, her divinity makes her call for equality and acceptance much more powerful and emotional for viewers.
With all of this information in mind, it is hard to understand the inequality within modern society's, especially when police brutality is evident in videos or photographs. However, with the help of more people like Iesha, society can create a more trustworthy, understanding, and knowledgeable relationship between citizens and officers.
Bachman, Jonathan. (2016, July). Taking a stand in Baton Rouge. Image. Retrieved from https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/taking-a-stand-in-baton-rouge
CBS News. (2016, July). Woman in Baton Rouge protest photo: "Silence speaks volumes". Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ieshia-evans-woman-iconic-baton-rouge-police-protests-photo-speaks-out/
Hensley, Nicole. (2016, July). Woman in stunning, viral Baton Rouge protest photo is nurse and mom. NY Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/woman-stunning-baton-rouge-protest-photo-nurse-mother-article-1.2706944
Kwong, Matt. (2016, July). Alton Sterling shooting: A quick death, a swift federal probe. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/alton-sterling-shooting-federal-probe-1.3668068