I took this photo a few years ago, and took some time today to re-edit some of the tones. It was the first photo I took where I thought I might be okay at this whole photography thing. It certainly is far from perfect, but it helped me find motivation to keep going.
Look for those small victories that keep you chasing your goals. And if you still lack motivation, go sit under a cool looking tree. Maybe you'll be inspiring someone else to keep going.
It would be easy to just ignore this and claim it's not the America we know. But it is the America we know. Whether it's people marching or ugly comments on Facebook, we have gone back to a time where people feel okay saying out loud they don't like someone else because of the color of their skin. And if that doesn't fire you up to say something and denounce blatant racism then I don't know what can.
Everyday as a white male I ask myself if I'm doing enough to understand others who aren't like me. Trying to understand others, what they go through, and how they got to where they are is the only way people come together. I think about a lot of the kids I work who will see stories like this and then are told they have every opportunity a white person does. However, when you see people hate you for being born, you don't feel that. When you see people hate you for your parents bringing you here for a better life, you don't feel that.
So speak out against this, if not for yourself, for others. Sitting idly by while it happens is the same as marching with a torch.
I felt so awkward standing there. On Canfield Drive. Why was I there? To bear witness? To prove to myself that I wasn't part of the problem? This place had already been photographed in thousands of ways, by thousands of different photographers--most far more experienced than me. I still don't really know. But I know it was important to be there. A young man was murdered that day. And these are the pictures I took.