In today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution, journalist Jeremy Redmon wrote an article which commented on a photograph he had snapped with his iPhone of Congressman John Lewis at the Atlanta airport on Saturday. Congressman Lewis was at the airport with hundreds of citizens, advocates and attorneys who were concerned about the refugees detained at the airport as a result of President Trump’s executive order banning refugees from entering the country. The photograph of Congressman Lewis was not particularly compelling, yet the story was. The image showed the 76-year-old civil rights icon sitting on a metal bench, hands clasped, looking patiently to his right. He had asked the federal immigration official how many refugees were being detained. When the official refused to provide information, Congressman Lewis told the crowd, “Why don’t we just sit down and stay a while.” Eventually, Congressman Lewis was briefed about the situation. The image above is a tribute to Congressman Lewis and all our citizens who had the courage to stand up and protest perceived injustice.
It is impossible to predict how the next four years will shape our country but I am certain about one thing. America will witness a “HUGE” surge in activism. The historic Woman’s March in DC last weekend was an indication that people are moved to unite to defend the civil rights of their family members, neighbors, and all those who call this great country home. I met Gus at the MLK March in Atlanta. He is a psychotherapist as well as an activist. He has been marching since 1968. He was one of many people who I met that were passionate about preserving social justice.
Now, more than ever, I seek inspiration when out photographing. Not only do I look for compelling subjects to photograph but I also yearn to hear their stories. I met Yvette Pegues on MLK Day in Atlanta as we marched with a group from disAbility Link. Yvette radiated beauty and grace, and her enthusiasm was contagious. She has overcome many obstacles in recovering from a traumatic brain injury which left her without the use of her legs. Yvette had to forfeit her dream, a full ride to Harvard’s PHD program, to fight for her own well-being and that of her family’s. Today, Yvette is an advocate for women, children, and all people living with a disability, as well as a professional speaker, life coach, author, and 1st responder. She won the distinction of being the first woman of color and Georgian to win the title of “Ms. Wheelchair USA”. In 2016 Yvette went on to win the International title.
The Pegues family believes that, “the scene of our greatest disappointment was the setting of our greatest miracle!” #YouAreAble
If you are looking for a bit of good cheer or inspiration look no further than Baton Bob. When the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred in New York City, Bob Jamerson was laid off from his job as a flight attendant. In an attempt to pull himself and others out of the funk that ensued after the tragedy, he decided to do something that brought him joy. He returned to twirling his baton in public. As a young boy, Bob was fascinated with the majorettes he watched at the college football games in his home town of Martinsville, Virginia. He started twirling a broomstick with the ends cut off at the age of 8 and proceeded to become the first male baton twirler in his high school. He is a celebrity as a street performer in Atlanta. One might see him marching and twirling his baton while dressed in one of his outrageous costumes. Baton Bob’s goal is to “lift people’s spirits and put a simple smile on people’s faces during their daily routine”.