Tag Archives: Trayvon Martin

Handkerchief: From my Memories


Laurie says:

This is one of the major photographs from Memory Landscape Memoir, my work in progress. I’m trying to create an aesthetic of memory, so the photographs get very complex and layered. But these bad times make me want to show this image with a direct immediate story. It’s a very different way of doing this for me, but in this moment it feels right.


from Memory Landscapes

The black and white photo is of the The Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, which took place on May 17, 1957, when a crowd of over thirty thousand nonviolent demonstrators, from more than thirty states, gathered at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Somewhere in that crowd are me and my friend Pat Sexton. We had come down from NYC on the bus with an NAACP group from Jamaica, Queens.

The young woman in the photo is me at about the age I was in 1957.

1954 is the last year Emmett Till was alive. He died when I was twelve. story of his death and the images of his battered body made a deep impression on me then.

The 9mm bullets and shells are like the bullets that murdered Trayvon Martin in 2013

Aces and Eights are the “Dead Man’s Hand”. Wild Bill Hickock was holding it when he was gunned down.

The white handkerchief represents the handkerchiefs they asked us to wave rather then applaud the speakers since it was a prayer pilgrimage. The air was filled with waving handkerchiefs. That created very intense energy–far more then applause would have.

#NMOS2014 : Vigils For Michael Brown

Laurie says:

Michael Brown, 18, a recent high-school graduate who was to begin college today, was found guilty of one crime this past weekend: walking while Black.


Ezell Ford was beaten and shot by police in South LA Monday night.

I was 13 when Emmet Till was beaten and shot to death. He was 14. I was 15 when I went to my first anti-racism demonstration.

In 2012 I was at a vigil for Trayvon Martin’s murder and a TV reporter asked me what I thought. I said I was 72, I’d been doing social justice work for much of my life, and this was the tragedy that never changes. I was angry then and now I am so angry I can hardly write.

Kirsten West Savali says all of this far better then I can (all quotes are from her):

Sometimes at night, when my three sons are asleep, I run my fingers through their soft curls, and touch their warm skin. Then I recoil as the horrific vision of bullets piercing their innocent bodies invades my thoughts. I picture them screaming, “Mommy!” and not being there to save them. So I hold them tighter and attempt to quell the paralyzing fear that comes with knowing that they will be viewed as potential threats to be neutralized before they are viewed as human beings to be respected. I trace their faces and wish that I can always hold their hands when they cross the street and that they can stay forever within the cocoon of my embrace.

But I cannot. They cannot.

And one day, I will have to tell them that we brought them into a world that they were never meant to survive.

From #NMOS2014: “In reaction to the brutal killings of Michael Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton and several other innocent Men and Women, we will hold a vigil honoring and remembering the fallen victims of police brutality. Join us in the National Moment of Silence to show support for the victims’ families.

I’ll be at the vigil for tomorrow at Civic Center at 4 in San Francisco. Check for #NMOS2014 location in your city.

In her 2010 poem, “My Son Runs In Riots,” Christy Namee Eriksen wrote of a boy who:

met men with gray hearts and silver badges
and he has
bullets in his back,
he has
bullets in his front,
he has 56 baton blows, six kicks in his ribs and
when you watch the video
it’s tough to tell whose son it is

Thanks to Chupoo for pointing at Kristen’s post.