Why Everyone Is Calling This Protest Photo Powerful

A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Maybe it’s the subtle lift of her dress brought on by a light wind. 

Or her confident upright demeanor as she unflinchingly stares down police donning riot gear.  Whatever it is, people are calling this photo a power symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement.  Like many protestors, this woman took her frustrations to the streets of Baton Rouge where Alton Sterling was killed.  Little is known about her except she is a mother of one son, she refused to move, she stood her ground peacefully, and she was arrested.

Johnathan Bachman, the Reuters photographer who snapped this picture said:

It happened quickly, but I could tell that she wasn’t going to move, and it seemed like she was making her stand. To me it seemed like: You’re going to have to come and get me. And I just thought it seemed like this was a good place to get in position and make an image, just because she was there in her dress and you have two police officers in full riot gear.

It wasn’t very violent. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t resist, and the police didn’t drag her off.

Her peace is the kind of peace we all really want in the end–to feel our power in any given moment and not have the slightest fear of it being taken away by anyone.  Indeed, this woman and this photo are beautiful symbols of the movement.

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