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One Photographer Goes Inside NYC's 2020 Uprisings
Rowan Papier On Shooting 2020's BLM Uprisings in NYC
"It was a very humbling experience to photograph the protests happening in New York at the moment. I had the privilege of being in the midst of such an incredible, visceral and authentic display of human emotion. On a personal level, it was important to me to protest the unjust murder of George Floyd, and march alongside humans of all colors fighting for justice. I felt compelled to be a part of it, and highlight issues of such huge importance, that have been normalized for too long. I am not African-American - My heritage is mixed Russian, Indian, German and Syrian. Though growing up in the English countryside, I was the only student who was not white in my primary school, and experienced the effects of racism from young age, yet respectfully will never be able to understand what it means to be an African-American in America.
Additionally, I am gay, and proudly belong to the LGBTQ community. This has typically also been a very vulnerable group, who have had to fight for their rights and freedom for decades. From marriage equality, hate crimes, and overcoming the aids pandemic of mass deaths, which were widely ignored. Growing up as a gay man, I experienced an underlying assumption that I am lesser than, or lucky to have the freedom that I do. You are made to feel that your life is of less value, importance and respect, so when I am faced with a community with a similar experience, I have great empathy. Once again, I will never know the experience of being a black person in America, but I will fight for their freedom, the same as I would fight for my own. I believe that all humans deserve equal rights, respect and justice, and am proud to belong to the younger generation who are out on the streets right now, fighting for a better future."