Called to Deeply Listen to Those Impacted by Police Violence

Hearing families who have been impacted by police violence speak is always a transformative and powerful experience for me. While I have been working with impacted families since 2009, the novelty remains as if I am hearing them for the first time. However, inviting audiences to listen to impacted families is a difficult endeavor that I have struggled with for nearly a decade.

I first entered this work photographing for a community paper in 2009 and was assigned to photograph a woman who had lost her son’s father in a brutal police interaction. The assignment left me with a plethora of questions like, why wasn’t this case highlighted in the mainstream media, and what will happen to this family as a result of this man’s violent death? I launched the Forced Trajectory Project shortly after which serves as a storytelling platform for families impacted by police violence, and has now expanded into a media outlet for these stories and other policing issues.

From August 24 – 26, my Forced Trajectory Project team members and I traveled to Los Angeles to participate in the Left Coast Forum hosted at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College in Downtown LA. Last year I was invited to be on a panel with Black Lives Matter – LA’s Dr. Melina Abdullah called, “Confronting the assault on Communities of Color in the age of Trumpism,” organized by Love Not Blood Campaign, a non-profit organization founded by the uncle of Oscar Grant, Cephus “Uncle Bobby X” Johnson, and his wife, community organizer and family advocate, Beatrice X “Aunt B” Johnson, that advocates for families impacted by homicide.

In their second year, I noticed right away that the conference had grown exponentially in attendance. The Left Forum is originally a conference held in New York where various streams of organizers come together to discuss the struggles that are pressing across our communities: labor rights, the aftermath of war and natural disaster, climate change, immigrant, civil and human rights, the school to prison pipeline, food justice, mass incarceration, and police brutality.

Read the entire story featuring grantee Families United 4 Justice.

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