On Labor Day weekend, for the past 27 years, Atlanta has hosted Dragon Con. This event brings together thousands of fans of sci-fi, fantasy, animation and gaming. The most popular event of the weekend is the Dragon Con parade which features 3,000 costumed marchers. Over 60,000 people flood the streets of downtown to witness this fantastical pageant. This was my first time attending the Dragon Con parade and rather than stand amongst the massive crowds along the parade route, I wandered throughout the staging area before the show began.
This water feature and fountain resides outside The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, which opened in June. I watched many people approach this panel of glass that rises out of the fountain and press their hands onto it. This panel has Nelson Mandela’s name and a quote of his inscribed upon it. The quote reads:
For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others
I’ve missed photographing on the streets of Atlanta, so Saturday I headed downtown. I ended up in Centennial Olympic Park among thousands of people enjoying Praise in the Park, a gospel music festival. I worked myself through the masses and ended up at the new Atlanta Civil Rights Museum where I photographed. After a satisfying afternoon I headed back to the MARTA station to catch a train back home. As I approached the station I came upon a large group of people preparing to march. As police escorts moved into place the crowd started to move down Marietta Street. They marched to the beat of drums and chanted, “Free Palestine.” My earliest memories of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict was over 40 years ago when an Israeli friend of our family was serving in the Israeli army. I remember seeing footage of the conflict on the news showing injured and dead bodies in a field. It was disturbing on many fronts but as a young girl all I could think about was whether our friend was among the bodies laying in the field. It is incomprehensible that this conflict persists and even more disturbing that a resolution is nowhere in sight.