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Protestors, Allies, Fighters, Keep On – #BlackLivesMatter – By Eric Toribio

June 13, 2020

“I can’t breathe!”, “I can’t breathe!”, “I can’t breathe!”

As a black Latino American living in London, a member of a historically oppressed group, I still have some access, privilege, and attention to contribute. I felt tremendous pain and guilt, watching my people fight for justice from over 3000 miles away. I donated money and shared resources, but still felt unsatisfied. Despite my efforts, I didn’t feel like I was doing my part. I found myself with an immense pressure to contribute more; to get out of my bubble, out of my relative comfort and do something, anything; but what could I do from abroad? It seemed like this was a “U.S.” problem. How should someone living in the UK react?

The only thing left to do was to hit the streets and shout. I joined thousands of Londoners and lent my note to the collective song.

“Say his name, George Floyd!”, “Say his name, George Floyd!”, “Say his name, George Floyd!”

Despite understanding history and knowing that racism and its ugly legacy isn’t a uniquely American problem, I was surprised and thankful to see the massive response that the city of London unleashed after the murder of George Floyd. When I say the city of London, I mean the people who have either suffered or acknowledge the suffering of others under the grip of white supremacy and its ruling institutions.

Thousands came together, despite risks associated with the pandemic, and put out a collective cry heard across the city. Racism is a global problem and requires actions across all cities, countries, and continents. Our voice is now stronger than it has ever been and has the capacity to manifest serious change in our society.

For everyone who is out there screaming, chanting, and walking for justice all over the world – this one is dedicated to you. I honor you and your great bravery. We are making a difference. Legislation is already being debated and voted on as you read this — all because of us. Although the end is nowhere near, we are many steps closer today than we were two weeks ago. Protesting may eventually cease, and some justice may be served, but the fight will have to go on. Protestors, allies, fighters, keep on.

Protestors, allies, fighters, keep on!

Eric

Feel free to reach out on Instagram. These images were first featured on my youtube channel here:

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56 Comments

  • Reply
    Stephen J
    June 13, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    I never realised that 35mmc was a site dedicated to political agitation and the applied science of cultural marxism?

    Silly old me, I thought the site was dedicated to the pursuit of film photography.

    Shape up Hamish, or lose your readers and contributors.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      June 13, 2020 at 12:18 pm

      Then readers will be lost. There’s another post coming this afternoon too.

      • Reply
        Stephen J
        June 13, 2020 at 2:02 pm

        So it is OK by you if these thick socialists come to Worcester and trash the place, not forgetting to rip down the statue of Edward Elgar, because he had the audacity to create some beautiful music.

        Not only that, he was a whitey!

        The sad death of the criminal George Floyd at the hands of a sadistic copper in America, does not licence marxist morons like Gary McFarlane or his agents masquerading as fighters against an injustice from destroying OUR history.

        Where I live is about two miles from where William Wilberforce, following a twenty year campaign finally persuaded the then prime minister that England (yes that is a nation) would not only stop trading in human beings (it was not only black people you know) , but order the Royal Navy to go in and actively stop its consequences. It culminated in the US civil war which destroyed a confederation, and left a vacuum for an empire.

        Actions have consequences Hamish, if you destroy history, you deprive not just yourself but your children of the future.

        I am all for reason, and if there is a reason for someone to complain, they should take that to some form of arbitration. A good example would be the murder of Stephen Lawrence, where the police did not bother to do their job, his parents took them to the courts and an enquiry damned just about everyone from the government down. What they did not do was trash Eltham.

        Please don’t glorify violent marxist agitation, it is not necessary or constructive.

        And finally, the point of photography is to create beauty not to document lies, if I want to see gritty reality I will go and buy a book of gun porn by Don McCullin.

        • Reply
          Hamish Gill
          June 13, 2020 at 2:21 pm

          It’s totally false to say all BLM protestors are all “thick socialists”.
          Monuments can be repaired – and those that represent less palatable parts of history put in museums where they belong.
          No one is destroying history, it will still belong in books and museums and other sources that can educate people.
          I’m not glorifying violence, I’m amplifying the voice of a black man who attended a peaceful protest in the hope that he can help action change.

          • Stephen J
            June 13, 2020 at 2:48 pm

            Nothing peaceful about destroying OUR history, or desecrating the memory of those who ACTUALLY died fighting fascism (the Cenotaph).

            I specifically picked out one of the socialist agitators, I did not allude to the gullible blind followers who cannot see what is underlying.

            If the demonstration had been peaceful, it might have had more power, instead it has merely precipitated the erosion of any support that Mr Floyd might have attracted through his torture. Trashing the neighbourhood does not bode well for the “matter of black lives”.

          • Hamish Gill
            June 13, 2020 at 2:56 pm

            The actions of individuals within the protests do not represent the the views of the whole. The majority of BLM protests have favoured peaceful action, as far as I can tell. Unlike the right wing thugs who have descended on the capital today.

          • Stephen J
            June 13, 2020 at 3:07 pm

            Maybe you should amplify the voice of this black man:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UoA2RHLlww

            Year zero freaks have no intention of furthering the cause of “black lives”, they are only interested in undermining our history, which of course leads to the destruction of millions of ordinary lives of whatever colour… This has been very well documented throughout the 20th century and the millions of deaths that ensued.

          • Hamish Gill
            June 15, 2020 at 10:15 am

            Stephen, I vote labour. But just because I vote Labour doesn’t mean I believe in every word and perspective found in the labour party. The same goes for people who vote right – I’m sure not everyone who voted Tory agrees with the warblings of the extremities of the party. I haven’t watch that whole video, I agreed with some of what I heard, and didn’t agree with other parts of it. That doesn’t mean I don’t find myself on his side of the fence. My vote is simply for equality for black people. I also agree with the right to protest. Because of those two factors, I found myself more than comfortable amplifying Eric’s voice.

      • Reply
        Terry B
        June 13, 2020 at 2:18 pm

        Sorry, Hamish, but I think that this was an error of judgement in giving a platform for political protest. I just hope that we won’t see a reversal in the spread of covid-19 following their irresponsible behaviour, we’re not out of the woods yet. Then who should relatives of those who may subsequently die, blame? The US policeman who was responsible for the death of George Floyd in the first place, or the actions of protestors who, by the current law, were not going lawfully about their protest?
        I don’t see anything wrong in lawful protest, but their actions won’t resonate well with the majority of law abiding people in the UK who have willingly, although probably begrudgingly at times, accepted the need for the Goverment’s lockdown policy. If this is to be all undone, then shame on those responsible, for the damage done will be to the whole country, many of whom will have been entirely innocent, even if they may initially have had sympathies with the cause, but not their method of execution.
        As for Churchill, by all accounts he wasn’t a particularly nice person, but he was the man for the times. Having to fight against appeasement politicians he alone was able to galvanise the British public to resist Nazism and which subsequently led to the annihilation of Nazism and the freedom of Europe from the jackboot.
        Why should today’s protestors take this on board? Well, from what has come to light in subsequent historucal research, coupled with what we know took place in the only territory occupied by the Nazis, the Channel Islands, we know exactly what Hitler had planned for the UK. The simple stark truth is there would be no black people, along with all the other groups the Nazis classed as inferior and hated, in the UK today to protest.
        It hasn’t been an easy road, but the UK has been on a trajectory to eliminate equality, and for the most part has succeeded, but inequality remains, nevertheless. But the UK is not the USA. and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be convinced otherwise. Once slavery was abolished here there were never any positive anti-black laws as was the case in the US.
        Somewhat long, but I felt a reasoned response was in order, rather than my simply saying I believe your judgement to be in error.

        • Reply
          Hamish Gill
          June 13, 2020 at 2:26 pm

          I believe that history will favour the the balance of the opinions of those who are protesting. Some actions may be seen as questionable, but ultimately the outcome of these protests will be the betterment of our society.

        • Reply
          Ken
          June 15, 2020 at 12:40 am

          Ignorant

          • Soloman khan
            June 16, 2020 at 8:49 pm

            Shame on you, you soulles waste of space.the pressing dire needs of society with it’s deep state and looming disaster is a topic that needs addressing NOW .you can go forth with your camera and film away from people that are brutalised and oppressed, and happily you won’t be missed.

      • Reply
        James Johnson
        June 13, 2020 at 3:48 pm

        Signed up for the Patreon. Good on you for standing up for the right thing, Hamish.

        • Reply
          Hamish Gill
          June 13, 2020 at 4:44 pm

          Thanks, James

    • Reply
      Mark
      June 13, 2020 at 4:20 pm

      Black folks here in the US are not practicing cultural marxism! They’re protesting against 400 years for systemic structural racism of hate, division, terror, and murder. I’m not sure who is practicing cultural marxism. I’m not sure that fighting against that type of historic oppression qualifies?

      • Reply
        Nick
        June 15, 2020 at 6:14 am

        Lost a loyal reader. You are all just a bunch of sheep.

        • Reply
          Hamish Gill
          June 15, 2020 at 9:58 am

          meh

      • Reply
        Nope
        June 15, 2020 at 9:44 am

        Sorry, but when the entire system – government, police, corporations, media, and so on – bend over backwards to not only support your cause but cover up your violence, and when the public is held ransom to say something – OR ELSE – your claims of experiencing structural racism seem laughable.

  • Reply
    Andrea Bevacqua
    June 13, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    I appreciate this kind of posts as well. Photography is not just to shoot perfect technical photos being able to shoot at the correct exposure or whatever. Would be very sad to reduce it to this.
    Photography is an expression of yourself. Is a document for who will come after us. Is being able to document the world where we are living…even in sad and appalling periods like the one we are living.
    I’m glad there are people who want to document the COVID and at the same time racism. To me, they are on the same plane. They are both a cancer of the world we are living.
    Well done Eric. Thanks for sharing.

    Andrea

  • Reply
    Sroyon
    June 13, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you Eric for powerful images. For anyone who reads this and goes away thinking photography shouldn’t be political… like it or not, it always has been.

  • Reply
    Roger B
    June 13, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Perhaps these woke folk might say the names of some of the dozens of blacks killed in Chicago, and Detroit, and Baltimore, every weekend, by other blacks. And perhaps the names of some of the black police officers killed in the line of duty by black gang members. The focus on George Floyd may be directed by love and care, but it glaringly ignores the real, underlying problems that bring about the death of hundreds of black citizens in America every single year. And it indicates an ignorance on the part of the protestors that knowledgeable, mature black people truly resent.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      June 13, 2020 at 1:56 pm

      The problem is complex, I don’t think anyone is disputing that.
      But if inroads are made when it comes to inequality within society, then many of the underlying issues will be tackled too, or at very least be made easier to tackle.
      I think it’s a little sweeping to suggest ignorance on the part of all protestors. There will be many perspectives and opinions at play within protestors.

      • Reply
        Roger B
        June 13, 2020 at 2:23 pm

        Well said, Hamish. From where I sit in the US, however, it’s hard to overlook the stampede of privileged, aging white politicians to coopt the authenticity and the drive for remedy seen in this movement, for their own Orange Man Bad agenda. Watching the two head honchos of the US Congress don the kente cloth of the Ashanti, the African kingdom that arguably made the most profits from the North American slave trade … that kind of pandering is offensive, and unforgettable.

    • Reply
      Stephen J
      June 13, 2020 at 2:30 pm

      I agree Roger.

      What we are seeing though is not related to the cause of “black lives” it is a concerted effort to destroy our history and pervert the future through an attempt to destroy our environment.

      Never forget that socialism and everything that leads to is pure evil, and it will eat black people along with everyone else.

      Millions of ordinary folk have been wiped from the planet by socialists and their gullible adherents.

      Up to this point, Hamish has been creating, participating in what is known as a “little platoon”, a club of people that wish to relate to each other in a very specific pursuit, the cause of film photography.

      If I want to read about a group of socialists bent on the mindless following of a dead man with a beard, I will join another little platoon.

      • Reply
        Hamish Gill
        June 13, 2020 at 2:47 pm

        You have a very different understanding of socialism, and a very different perspective on what is going on here to me. I respect your opinion as an opinion, but I totally disagree with everything you are saying.

        • Reply
          Stephen J
          June 13, 2020 at 2:57 pm

          Funnily enough Winston Churchill said possibly the most important thing about socialism that anyone has ever said, and it is why he is so revered, however odious his personality. :et’s face it politicians are creepy folk at the best of times.

          What did he say?

          “No Socialist Government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, or violently-worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance. And this would nip opinion in the bud; it would stop criticism as it reared its head, and it would gather all the power to the supreme party and the party leaders, rising like stately pinnacles above their vast bureaucracies of Civil servants, no longer servants and no longer civil.”

          Under real socialism, we would see just how much “Black lives matter”.

          • Hamish Gill
            June 13, 2020 at 3:05 pm

            I think you are conflating equality and communism, and I don’t follow why

  • Reply
    Stephen J
    June 13, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    It depends on what you mean by equality Hamish?

    People were and are equal under socialist rule, they are equally bereft of anything.

    Read a bit about life in France after the revolution, where “equality” was the primary goal. The reult was a lot of people…. equally dead.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      June 13, 2020 at 3:20 pm

      Equal advantage, not equal disadvantage. These people are fighting for the rights of black people to be treated the same as white. To be given the same advantages.

      • Reply
        Stephen J
        June 13, 2020 at 3:54 pm

        They are. We have equal rights in this country, and have done for several hundred years.

        It depends what you mean by advantages? Such things are not given, they are built up over generations, and if you keep trashing your history, you never build any capital.

        My son in law is Keralan, and his father drove an underground train, he has made a lot of cash providing companies with websites. My nephew is married to an Indian girl whose parents were kicked out of Uganda, her father worked in a shoe shop, she runs one of the NHS trusts. Another niece is married to a Moroccan who has lied and cheated his way through life, and she lives in a grim north London flat while he spends her very small inheritance on a failed chicken farm in Essaouira.

        The fact is that we are the product of sexual intercourse, which is as near as dammit completely random.

        You just cannot justify grading people by colour, there are far more variables, the old trouser tadpoles know no boundaries. The nigh on hundred million people that died following the efforts of one of Marx’s disciples Mao Tse Dong, were all yellow, what kind of advantage did their children derive from that sacrifice, apart from slavery?

        BTW: I do not think that it is necessary to try to demean my views by suggesting that I mean something other than what I have written.

        • Reply
          Hamish Gill
          June 13, 2020 at 7:12 pm

          Not at all, we’re just on such a different page I just don’t understand much of your point.

          Equal rights, perhaps (though I would debate that since not even poor white men had the vote 200 years ago…?). But that’s not what I said – I said equal advantage. To be treated equal, respected as equal, to have equal opportunity. If you can’t see discrimination in our society, you’re just not looking hard enough. And even then, if you couldn’t see it, where do you think such a widespread feeling within the black communities comes from. Do you think vast swathes of people are just imagining that they are being short changed by society? Are you suggesting that the racism they are protesting against is just a figment of their collective imaginations…?

  • Reply
    brian nicholls
    June 13, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Eric,
    This is really is powerful action photography and it had the potential of being a great piece of photojournalism. Unfortunately, you failed to mention or show any of the 35 injured police officers or mention the blatant breach of social distancing rules in the event of the current world plague. Also, no mention of the disgraceful vandalism to the Churchill statue who, if it was not for his inspirational leadership during WWII there would have been a swastika flying over Buckingham Palace today and, such protests would never have been allowed. In these posts it’s normal etiquette to inform on how you obtained these shots. Were you in the middle of the ‘action’ with a film or digital compact or did you use a telephoto lens etc, etc??

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      June 13, 2020 at 3:46 pm

      You should let the actions of a tiny minority of protestors tarnish the view of the whole purpose.
      Also, I set the brief based on seeing Eric’s images and Eric fulfilled that brief by supplying them with these words. I did not ask for an unbiased photojournalist in piece, I asked him to document his personal experiences and opinions.
      This website is a blog, not a news outlet. A blog the documents photographic experiences, this to me is exactly that.

  • Reply
    Gary Paudler
    June 13, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks for this important post, Eric and Hamish.
    I’m hoping that this time is different and will lead to freedom, peace and justice that can be shared by all.
    Except for one, particular orange skid mark.

  • Reply
    Jeff
    June 13, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for this article and the important images of people coming together to work toward a better future where we no longer turn a blind eye to racist violence and oppression.

  • Reply
    Stephen Procter
    June 13, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Bravo Eric. This is precisely the kind of thing we need to be hearing and seeing right now. I find some of the above comments rather baffling. What does it even mean to ‘destroy history’? As far as I know no one is burning books. Monument: ‘a statue, building or other structure erected to commemorate a person or event.’ Commemorate: ‘recall and show respect for (someone or something).’ Preserve (as Hamish says, in an appropriate context), study, discuss, but please never allow respect for anyone who bought or sold slaves. It’s time we heard from a more diverse set of voices and points of view and I applaud Hamish for his good sense in providing space for them.

  • Reply
    John
    June 13, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    I say well done Hamish, not because I agree or disagree with you or the other authors of content on this site, but rather because it is your site so you can do what you want with it! It’s brave of you to take a stance, and I applaud that bravery

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      June 13, 2020 at 4:47 pm

      Thanks John

  • Reply
    Pete
    June 13, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    Good on you, Hamish.

    By the way, I’ve always been struck by Denis Healey’s preferred definition of socialism: “An obstinate will to erode by inches the conditions which produce avoidable suffering”.

    Hopefully something we should all be able to get behind.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      June 14, 2020 at 12:10 am

      That certainly sounds a little more like the socialism I subscribe too. Thanks, Pete

    • Reply
      Des McSweeney
      June 14, 2020 at 8:38 am

      god bless Dennis Healey, gnarly old dog of the Labour Party and thoughtful politician

      • Reply
        Pete
        June 14, 2020 at 9:06 pm

        I met him once in the gardens of the Alhambra. We got chatting as we were staying in the same hotel and we were both shooting with an OM2N. Lovely bloke and keen photographer. Highly recommend his autobiography. Best wishes to all – and thanks to Eric for his post.

  • Reply
    Marco C
    June 13, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    “An article without cameras, lenses and settings? What is this?” 😉

    Bravo Hamish! I totally support your choice. And thanks to Eric for sharing his pics and thoughts.

  • Reply
    Rachel Brewster-Wright
    June 13, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Just wanted to leave a reply to thank Eric for capturing his personal images of such an important moment in our history and also to Hamish for knowing how important it is to show and share what is happening through the visual medium of photography by using his platform to bring it to light rather than sweep it under the carpet where it’s been kept for hundred of years. It’s not about destroying history, in fact I’d say it’s about the exact opposite. These images are part of shining a light on our history, putting it under a microscope and realising that it makes for some uncomfortable reading.

  • Reply
    Matt P
    June 13, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks for the article guys. It’s an important event, it’s an important fight and it’s important to share it.

  • Reply
    Matt S
    June 14, 2020 at 7:09 am

    Great set of photos. Documenting political struggle and using art as a medium to promote justice have produced some of the best photos by the best photographers in history. Thank you Eric, and thank you Hamish.

  • Reply
    Daniel Castelli
    June 14, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks Hamish for posting this article.
    I won’t be a lost reader.
    Eric – well done. Powerful images.
    Without images posted by press & amateur photographers, we would only have state-sponsored photos. We would not see the raw ‘real time’ emotions and passion.
    Every time a back person was killed by a police officer here in the US, there was a moment when rational people could have come together and sought a solution. We squandered not only the lives of the men and women killed, but we squandered the moment.
    The covid-19 pandemic has exposed so many layers of inequality here in America. Black & Latino workers have lost jobs at a greater rate than their white counterparts. They have less money to ride out the prolonged shut down. They have less access to health care. Their children don’t have the means for long distance learning. For too long, we have ignored these problems. It’s a simple matter of equality. Our political system has been aligned to favor business and the wealthy.
    We have been sitting on a pile of dry branches in a drought. A single spark was going to ignite the whole pile. We could have fixed it, we could have done a lot of things, but we ignored the signs.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      June 15, 2020 at 10:00 am

      Thanks, Dan 👍

  • Reply
    Savas B
    June 15, 2020 at 7:44 am

    For those who think photography and politics is unrelated, I suggest to take a look at this series of articles by Ariel Azoulay.
    It might be difficult to swallow for some, but photography and camera are colonial tools and need to be decolonised.
    https://www.fotomuseum.ch/en/explore/still-searching/articles/155239_unlearning_the_origins_of_photography

  • Reply
    Nope
    June 15, 2020 at 9:48 am

    What made you bend the knee, Hamish?

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      June 15, 2020 at 9:55 am

      Empathy, sympathy, humility, a sense of injustice, a desire of equality, an understanding of what equality for black people means as part of a bigger step to a fairer society, a desire for a fairer society… all of which come from my left leaning tendencies, I suppose.

      • Reply
        Soloman khan
        June 16, 2020 at 9:13 pm

        Well said hamish, may GOD bless you for taking a stand.it’s an unfair unjust world ruled by greedy heartless ppl, we all need a collective concience to remedy the horrors of history, for the betterment of everyone. A peaceful safe and fairer society that evoke’s love trust and mutual cohesion.🙂

        • Reply
          Hamish Gill
          June 16, 2020 at 11:20 pm

          🙂👍

  • Reply
    Richard Carr
    June 15, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Hamish, Eric, thank you both

    Eric for a great article and set of photos. Hamish for running this – and for an extraordinary calm and positive set of responses to comments

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      June 22, 2020 at 1:22 pm

      Thanks Richard, appreciated!

  • Reply
    Andrew Karlson
    June 16, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks, Eric, for these beautiful images and words. You have shared a powerful act of witness with everyone who reads this site. And thanks also, Hamish, for hosting this post. As the sign in one of the images reads, Silence is Compliance.

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