On 5 July 2006 I launched this new blog, F R E E D OM, not only for the purpose of bringing attention to events, cultural matters, artists, interesting businesses and historical scenarios that are of interest to me but also as a means by which to move forward, inspite of the racism that I expereince each and every day of my black life and, perhaps, but as a long time friend said to me yesterday evening , "... just move on, get over it and ignore them!". To which I would reply, 'Please stop insulting me. Don't you think that that is precisely what I have always done. Don't you think that that is what my photography, my writings and my travelings are about. But it's kind of hard to move on, or to get over it and to ignore them when they spend every moment of their lives trying to dismantle what I do, lying about me, and going out of their way to affect me negatively. And, 'calling the police!'".
Which is what I hear almost each and every time that I take pictures. And even when I don't hear it ... it is something that folks will do. For example, after a photo walk when I board the subway system, an announcement will come over the PA system 'If you see someone acting suspicious ... contact the Metro Police ....'. And when you add the fact that when I take pictures folks will follow me through the streets, onto subway, and to the Safeway, I have no doubt, that the announcement, sometimes (not always), is directly towards me, the black man with a two cameras.
It was Friday, 14 July, Bastille Day and I had not gotten to nor completed many of the projects that I'm working on but wanted to make sure that, in the process of my ritual Friday Photo Walk, that I revisited several of the places or venues that I had reported on before or that I needed more information about as was the case with the Loop Exhibition at the Corocoran.
Leaving my apartment just before 2 PM, which was much later than I had hoped, while waiting for the Green Line train in the direction of Greenbelt, at Waterfront Station, I'd jot down into my pad "Bastille, Corcoran, Ronny Charles, hair cut, Code Pink". However, I was a bit concern that a hevy rain storm would pass through. So, during the course of my 14 July 2006 Friday Walk, not only was concerned about the rain, I was concerned that someone would call police on me, for taking pictures. After transferring at Gallery Place, on the subway ride to Farragut North, I'd reflect on a photo essay that I've been contemplating entitled Imagine that will began from a conversation that I had with a white guy on Friday evening, 9 June, when he would join me at Dakotas Cowgirl.
Imagine what I could be .... if I were not a black man!
So, for the sake of this new blog, F R E E D O M, this particularly posting as will postings on this site will bring attention to venues, events, protests, businesses, cultiral matters and historical scenarios. However, in hindsight, I know enough about life that in order for me to move forward, I must not be silent and pretend that I did see what I saw or did not experience, which is sharp what my experiences had I been white. With that having said, reporting and commenting on and bringing attention to the various events, sports, protests, and cultural matters that I visited yesterday, during my 14 July 2006 Friday Photo Walk at this F R E E D O M, rest assure that, and without apologies ... I will speak louder than words regarding my experiences.
In hindsight, each and Friday or Saturday or Sunday or whenever I that I've taken pictures over all these years, as a black man I return home having experienced the same oppression! In hindsight!
In hindsight, every trip that I've made to NYC, San Francisco, Baltimore, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, in recents, and, in particular since 1992 I have returned home ... unfulfilled.
In hindsight, its only been through the integration of my photography with my writings that I m verbalize the truth. In my writings, I've spoken of the racism that expereince when stores. In particular, for the purpose of my 14 July 2006 Friday Photo Documentary Project, I've often about the way that I am treated when visit Lambda Rising, HRC Equality Store or Universal Gear or the various gay stores in the Dupont and Logan Circle area. In my writings, and as recent as Easter Saturday I'd tell of my expereinces at Lambda Risin' when I'd happen Darren, a former colleague from Susan Gage Caterings. And, in my writings, I would tell of my experiences on 2 June when as tour guide I would introduce 4 friends from South Boston VA to Lambda Rising and the HRC Store. In the 2 June photoessay I speak to the fact, that, as white men, these friends were treated with a respect that I was not afforded. It was so obvious and matter of fact.
And the HRC store manager said, "Oh, I know you. You'll the protest photographer ...' and then proceeded to mistreat in sharp contrast as she treated the 4 white guys that I brought into the store. In my 5 October 2003 photoessay, Grown Ass Black Man, which commemorated my 50th birrthday I talk about my experiences at that very HRC Equality Store which is not unlike my expereinces at Lambda Rising. My experiences, as a black man, at Lambda Risin' had been a topic of conversation, many years ago, with Jim Marks when he inquired why I had not visited the store too often.
Bob Costello, aware of my writings and my photography had suggested that I touch base with folks at Lambda Risin'. And the reasons that I did are directly to the manner by which I have treated when visiting the store. In hindsight!
The next few postings on this site will bring attention to the events, sports, protest, art exhibitions and cultural scenarios that I visited or revisited on Friday, 14 July 2006.
But, to gain a better perspective of me and, may I invite you to walk in shoes by visiting Louder Than Words.