A small sample of portraits + Statements

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Abdi Nor Iftin by David Wade

Kneeling Means Fighting For Justice

 

I kneel to fight the vicious legacy in white supremacy. Kneeling is a form of an uprise. Today, every black men and women in this country live in an uncertainty and constant fear for their own lives. In this giant country, a nation that is technologically advanced, sent a man to the moon and landed a machine on Mars, yet cant heal it is own people who suffered centuries in silence and oppression. Our nation has betrayed it is own mighty destiny.

 

Black men and women are hated by the system--chronically, systematically for over four hundred years. I want my kneeling to allow the suffering to speak and those gone too soon to feel not abandoned and forgotten. Through kneeling we demand much needed change in this country. It must happen now. Black America will not wait for one more day. I want the story in this book to be told for years to come until justice arrives. 

 

America can serve justice to its people. It is capable of doing so,---if it can send a man to the moon, robots to Mars, and it is mighty military cross continents, why can’t it also invest in its own people. Prevent more black men and women in dying under the policing system of America. Until America recognizes us, until it accepts our demands we will be kneeling at home, on the street or at work.

It's not the full text

 

                                                                                                   -  Abdi Nor Iftin

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Heather Augustine by John Ripton

As a Mi’kmaq woman living on unceded Wabanaki Territory, I stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.  I condemn white supremacy and the many tools utilized to oppress and kill black people.  We all carry within us the blood memory of our ancestors.  The time has come for the descendants of white settlers to recognize that their birthright has given them an advantage in this society.  Until it is collectively examined and accepted that our society is born from violence, theft, deception, and slavery we will not heal.  When we intentionally deconstruct the institutional and structural power dynamic of white supremacy that thrives on division and inequality, we lay a foundation for our children that is built on truth and understanding. 

It's not the full text

                                                                                  - Heater Augustine

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Faye Daisy by Tim Greenway

Monument Square in Portland Maine, is more akin to a town square. It's where we gather, protest, make happy memories, and  come together. It's a central location in town where everyone can come together. By photographing here, I'm manifesting our town, our state, our country, can finally come together in unity against injustice.

It's not the full text

                                                                                             - Faye Daisy

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Eric Tuyishimire by Tim Greenway

While we are taking pictures I took off my shoes and take pictures bare foot as a sign of showing respect through culture. As you know some of the cultures around the world taking off shoes showes a sign of respect.

It's not the full text

                                                                             - Eric Tuyishimire

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Lesley McVane by David Wade

Statement to come

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Elizabeth Ross Holmstrom by John Ripton

I kneel in honor of what our brothers, sisters, elders, and children of color have endured on this indigenous land. I kneel as an ally and a white person invested in and committed to continued action to dismantle the systems of racial supremacy and injustice in this country.

 

Until we remove human labels and othering, we will not have the unification that is possible in a new paradigm. We are all truly one people.

 

Love and compassion are needed at every level. I will listen and make space for the healing of trauma. I will open my heart to the shared wisdom that can make our lives better. I kneel in solidarity. 

It's not the full text

 

                                                             - Elizabeth Ross Holmstrom

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Jacqueline Rukundo by Ann Tracy

Statement to come

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Rafael Macias by Amy Bellezza

Statement to come

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Joely Kessel by David Wade

Statement to come

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Jerry Edwards by Rose Barboza

Statement to come

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Nancy Vamond - Bell by Tim Greenway

Statement to come

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Daniel Minter by David Wade

Statement to come

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Marita Kennedy- Castro by Amy Bellezza

Statement to come

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Desiree Nicole Lester by John Ripton

Statement to come

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Kyle Poisonner by Rose Barboza

Statement to come

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Hope Rovelto by Ann Tracy

Statement to come

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Kifah Abdullah by Ann Tracy

Statement to come

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Marcia Minter by David Wade

Statement to come

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Tony Dancer by Kelli LK Haines

It's not the full text

You are not born to suffer. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is up to you. I kneel to help people avoid unnecessary suffering.

 

                                                                   - Tony Dancer

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Christine Sullivan by Ann Tracy

It's not the full text

My grandfather was an educator and a champion of citizenship for immigrants in Lawrence, Massachusetts. I kneel because I align with his values today. I kneel because I believe in our ability to heal our divisions and work for equality in every realm. The guardian angel signifies the past, but also the persistence of love. Her raised hand wards off harm, and mercy to those who have been kept outside. It’s time to join hands and build.

 

                                                                                 - Christine Sullivan

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Jean Medard Zulu by John Ripton

I am taking part in this project because I wanted to bring awareness to the injustice that most minorities face worldwide. In the United States, too, we see a tremendous amount of injustice towards the black community. In the Democratic Republic of Congo – my home country – people die on a daily basis due to the struggle over land and natural resources, bloody wars that most of the world ignores. 

 

Posing for this photograph is an opportunity for me to share a meaningful message with an American audience. To start with, I lift to the sky a knife called "Epalang Knife '' from the Yanzi people, a tribe that I am part of, which is located in the central part of the Democratic Republic Congo. In addition, the knife that I hold in my outstretched hand was stolen from a local chief in the DRCongo by Belgian mercenaries in the late 19th. I purchased it from a Belgian Art gallery. In that effort, I finally got back what was stolen from my ancestor's hand. 

 

So, I lift my arm holding the "Epalang Knife'' not as a sign of violence but as a sign of self-appropriation and freedom commemorating my ancestors who died for me. On their shoulders I stand up today. With this historic knife, I also salute those in America who fight for their ancestors and join them in their struggle to end racism here and throughout the world.

It's not the full text

                                                                        - Jean Medard Zulu

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Mary Allen Lindemann by Tim Greenway

I was asked why I chose to wear the color black in this photo. For some, black signifies something somber, funereal.  To me, it is quite the opposite. 

It represents promise, hope, potential. 

 

For me, the bended knee is a sign of peaceful protest, a recommitment to our freedom of speech, a promise to honor what makes American democracy great.  It is a sign of respect and humility, honoring those who came before us who worked hard to ensure rights for all.  We have not finished the work needing to be done, saying out loud Black Lives Matter.

It's not the full text

                                                                 - Mary Allen Lindemann

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Julia Mc Donald by Tim Greenway

I bow in reverence to and in memorium of the thousands of health care workers who have died from COVID-19, heroes who showed up to do their job and died in the service of others. (Amnesty International estimates more than 17,000 health care workers have died from COVID-19.) I kneel for ALL the people who died, my own patients and 3 million others across the globe. I take a knee to honor their lives and to honor their families who live on. I kneel to call attention to systemic racism which contributes to the health disparities in the US that cause Black, Hispanic, and indigenous people to die at 1.9x, 2.3x and 2.4x the rate of White non-hispanic people respectively! (Data from US CDC) I take a knee, also, to honor the black and brown Americans who have died at the hands of police, especially George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, and SO MANY OTHERS whose murders sparked international protests during these two epidemics of novel coronavirus and longstanding racism.

It's not the full text                                                                                               

                                                                            - Julia McDonald

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Makayla Edwards, Jerry Edwards and Phil Savage by Rose Barboza

Kneeling in protest is the bare minimum for a white ally. It’s only a symbolic action- but symbols can be powerful. An ally with the courage of their implied convictions goes further. Only then can that symbol mean reach its powerful potential.

 

                                                                                     - Phil Savage

It's not the full text

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Anne Esguerra by Kelli LK Haines

Statement to come

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Ngidi-Brown by Eniola Adeoye-Lawal

Statement to come

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Dinah Minot by Tim Greenway

Statement to come

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Danika Kuhl by Kelli LK Haines

Statement to come

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Anita Stewart by Ann Tracy

Statement to come

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Kris Hines Cecil by John Ripton

I’m a queer, disabled filmmaker and photographer living in southern Maine. This project is so important because it put diversity in front of and behind the scenes, something sorely missing in our industry. Growing up in Maine, I was fortunate to experience a small amount of diversity by living in a navy town, but I was brought up in a “colorblind” household and had to come to grips with that philosophy as a form of racism and oppression. In Maine, we do many wonderful things but we tend to erase the racial diversity of our state and our state’s history, which becomes increasingly toxic and dangerous as Maine becomes more diverse. As a nonbinary trans man, I can feel viscerally the need for inclusion and seeing diversity as a strength, but I think working toward racial equity is the challenge of our generation and I want to help in any way I can. 

It's not the full text
                                                 

                                            - Kris Hines Cecil

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Abdulkadir Ali, Maine Youth Justice and Maine Inside Out by John Ripton

Statement to come

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Baresi Otieno by John Ochira

Statement to come

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Matthew and Monzy by Titi de Baccarat

Statement to come

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Jonathan Monsheni by Titi de Baccarat

Statement to come

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Frank Graham Robinson  Jr by John Ripton

it's not the full text

“Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday…” -Baha'u'llah "...strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers.” -‘Abdu’l-Bahá “Say: no man can attain his true station except through his justice. No power can exist except through unity. No welfare and no well-being can be attained except through consultation.” -Baha'u'llah I draw much of my inspiration from the Baha’i Faith. I find my fire through my cultural background and my daily striving for my family, neighborhood and the world at large. Kneeling can be seen as purely a symbolic act. A cry for justice, an acknowledgement of ongoing disparity of freedoms and essentially, “I’ll stand for the flag, when all it is supposed to represent stands for me.” Often it is seen solely as an act of defiance. But defiance implies disorder for disorder’s sake, rather than the noble act of demanding justice.

                                                  Frank Graham Robinson Jr

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Jenny Van West by John Ochira

Statement to come

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Daniyah Kazadi by Titi de Baccarat

Statement to come

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Terri Taryn Nwanma by Eniola Adeoye-Lawal

Statement to come

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Jeannie Toppi by Titi de Baccarat

Statement to come

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Nena Burgess By Eniola Adeoye-Lawal

It's not the full text

“I kneel for my mother, my grandmother, my aunts, my uncles, my brothers, and my father. I kneel for me. I kneel for you. I press my knee into a whole earth, until I feel that I can be, exist, and be whole on earth.”

 

                                                                - Nena Burgess

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