Don’t Forget the Protests of 2020: A Photographer’s Perspective

John L’Etoile shares scans and thoughts of photos from the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in Reno.

In the middle of a global pandemic, issues of disenfranchisement and discrimination against American people perpetrated by the government rose to the surface. With protests against police brutality due to racism in their departments across the country, more and more people were getting involved in trying to dismantle the status quo upheld by these departments. That status quo being “shoot first and ask questions later.” After the terrible murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers, people who would normally not be out protesting felt the need to finally do something tangible to get the attention of the government. Sending letters and talking at city hall were no longer enough to show the higher powers that this treatment of our Black communities is not something we will stand by and watch any longer. These protests felt like the beginning of something bigger, a revolution that could have a real impact on our country and a start at dismantling systemic racism.

A year since then and few changes have been made in our policies regarding police funding and scope. In fact, for the most part police funds have gone up in many areas of the country. Amid the ongoing pandemic and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, issues of systemic racism and the prison industrial complex have been dropped from front page. There are still so many things left to accomplish on the path to equality and forgetting how close we were to a real reform pushes us back even farther.

Photos and Op-Ed Essay by John L’Etoile shared with Reynolds Sandbox

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