During the Inauguration Day protests in Pioneer Square, 30-40 masked protesrs exercised their constitutional right to burn American flags. As I looked on, dozens of photographers and videographers flooded the scene, effectively disregarding the other 1000+ citizens who were assembling and protesting peacefully. Within minutes, those were the images broadcast on local and national media. At most, the flag burning lasted ten minutes and constituted a fraction of the organized political action at the square, yet instantly became the headline. As is the norm in the current climate, the loudest, angriest voices were given a loud speaker while the peaceful majority was largely ignored.
"The Face of Protest” is an ongoing series of portraits and audio recordings that attempts to work against this distortion by amplifying some of the protests’ less heard voices.
The Face of Protest, Part 1: Buddy
"I decided to travel from Astoria to Portland because I knew this is where the largest gathering would be in my area and I’ve helped organize and volunteer for the Bernie Sanders and simultaneously protesting Trump’s nomination and obvious election. I’m going to commit to, as long as this guys’s in office, I’m going to do everything I can to resist his policies and his adminstration. And to say no to bigotry, misogyny, fascism and all the lame bullshit that him and his cabinet represent. I would say the overarching idea is that you know we have the right to come and express our freedom of speech and to express our right to protest a governing body that doesn’t represent our interest or the interests of the people whatsoever."
The Face of Protest, Part 2: Eric
“I came out here as a duel citizen, having grown up on both sides of the border in an intersectional community- East Indian as well as being part of the LGBT community- feeling that my future- not only my education, but my prosperous future that I should be inheriting- and my basic human rights such as healthcare and the ability to progress and grow is in dire, dire circumstance; not knowing that my future is secure, not knowing if the career I’m going into in the future is secure. All of that is in jeopardy today. Being out here today and unifying myself with everyone else in my generation is something that I’m really, really passionate about…At least there’s a sense of community, something that we can all unify under, something that we’re all passionate about. And yes, the next four years are going to be a little bit shaky to say the least…as an understatement of the year. But at least there is a community behind me to support me and be here for me and my values.”
The Face of Protest, Part 3: Anne
“I think that Trump is an illegitimate president so I want to protest and go with people that believe the same way that I do. [And what do you think the importance of the protest is, in general?] To get people to understand- I think that’s it. To get the people that voted for him to understand that we’re scared. And that we’re scared…you know we’re scared of the hate. And we’re scared of him. We’re scared of what he can do.”
The Face of Protest, Part 4: Linda
“Well I think this is an historic day on many levels and I feel it’s just really important that people around the country just come out because it’s symbolic to show that we’re not all happy about the result. And I just felt instead of getting depressed, I needed to do something and bring my friends with me if I could. [Are you planning on being out here tomorrow as well?] Absolutely. That’s going to be the big march. I think people are feeling a little fearful because of what they’d heard about the potential for this march. More people are going to be out tomorrow. And it’s going to be more mainstream.”
The Face of Protest, Part 5: Karston
“Everything that Trump represents is the exact opposite of what I think our country should be…I mean, there’s a couple of purposes, but I mean the main message is to get the message out there, to let the world know, to let Trump know that there are people who actively oppose him and that what he’s doing is not ok. But I mean, it’s also a little bit of a feel good event to let the rest of us know that we’re not alone.”
The Face of Protest, Part 6: Sarah
“This is heartbreaking. I worked on the election and we lost. We lost really big. I want to look back and say that this was a thing and it happened and I was there at that time. Hopefully I’ll be able to look back and say, “Yes, America is great currently." It doesn’t need someone who is normalizing behavior that is completely abhorrent and ridiculous to lead it."
The Face of Protest, Part 7: Brenden
“I wanted to come down and here and try and get out to President Trump that this is not a monarchy and he is not a king. He is a servant of the public, and I think that he should act as such. That’s all I want.”