reflection and change

preface: my word vomit blog posts are not important in the grand scheme of things currently (or really ever), but I still feel this is necessary to write out, at the very least to look back on one day

I took the last month off from shooting, and from posting my own photos to instagram. I focused my energy on educating myself on the Black Lives Matter movement, taking a serious look in the mirror at my privilege and lack of awareness, amplifying BIPOC voices/photogs, educating myself (some more) on topics and issues I was previously unaware of, and thinking of ways to maintain efforts to create positive change and progress toward equality.
I am by no means finished doing these things. I will continue to foster more awareness of the things I have learned in the past few weeks, and give more attention to issues I previously ignored due to my privilege. There are so many different levels to the race inequality problem in our country it’s stifling and frustrating to think about, let alone try to take steps forward, but that does not mean that we (as white people) can avoid doing whatever we can to create change. 

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I want to use my voice as a photographer and whether it is right of me do certain things (such as photographing protests). At times I think that any documentation of what is going on in the country is important; I would hope that the people photographing today’s current events help to paint a more realistic picture for future generations to learn about in history books. However, I also believe that this is not my story to tell. There is no need for another white voice to take the struggle of an oppressed group and make a name for themselves or profit off of a movement. Not to mention the very real issues with people at protests being tracked down afterward, using protest documentation that shows identifying features. 
I’m still trying to figure out what is the best course of action, and while I recognize there are plenty of other routes to take in the fight for justice, photographing would be a natural route for me to take. I just want to make sure that if I do take that route, it is done in a way that is sensitive to the situation, and isn’t stifling Black photographers, whose perspectives are most important in this moment.

I wish that I was in NYC, marching with my friends, speaking out, and fighting for what’s right, but for now I will do what I can from where I am.

When it comes to future action, as I take steps forward in my professional career, I want to be sure I have a greater awareness for who I work for, the companies I support and have jobs with, and the people I associate with.
I don’t believe that those with power and wealth can sit idly by any longer and continue to profit off of generations of oppression. I do believe that when people are held accountable, they can create change and do better in the future, but there is no longer an excuse for the injustices that have been tolerated in this country. I don’t believe you are truly putting in the work for yourself if your actions don’t follow suit, and for that reason, I plan to do what I can to work with people who fight against racial injustice, surround myself with creatives who are diverse and accepting, and buy from businesses that are making positive efforts.

There is still so much to be done.
No matter what you are or are not posting on the internet/social media, there are so many other ways to fight for the causes you care about, and lift up the people have been held down. 

I am willing to listen and correct myself if something I am saying/doing is wrong. I am willing to speak with those who disagree with me and try to share perspectives. I am willing to sacrifice the privilege in my life so that we can take one step closer to the country of freedom and equal opportunity we claim to be. 

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