They, too, are America: 

The Faces Of Black Lives Matter Protests In New York City

(after I, too by Langston Hughes) 

They, too, are America is a story of opening your soul in the times of mandatory mask wearing, and coming together to fight injustice in the age of social distancing. The project consists of portraits of over a hundred protesters taken on the streets of New York during 13 different events in summer-fall of 2020 in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

Lisa Pavlova is originally from Russia and has been an active participant of anti-government protests in her home country. She left Russia in 2018 because she got tired of the unjust system and not being able to create the change. 2020 was her first encounter with the protest movement (especially the civil rights protest) in the US.

The project started as a tool to show people in Russia that BLM protesters are not a marginalized group of looters as Russian state media tried to show. Quickly it became an ode to the bravery and inspiration behind the BLM movement.

Studio aesthetics (including using a portable background) of the imagery and the thoughtful outsider position of the author turned They, too, are America into an encyclopedia of people and issues that sparked the US in 2020.

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Mark, 30, at March for Black Trans Lives in Brooklyn Bridge Park: 

"[I want to] make sure that we end racism."

Michael, 29, at Carl Shurz Vigil in Carl Shurz Park: 

"You can't be a moral person and observe what you're observing without feeling angry."

Mike, 37, at Carl Shurz Vigil in Carl Shurz Park: 

"I want to use my white voice and privilege in a space where other voices can’t be heard."

Conner, 25, at Occupy City Hall in City Hall Park: 

"It's our responsibility as white people to dismantle something we built, white supremacy."

Bellow, 26, at Occupy City Hall in City Hall Park: 

"I’m here for Black Liberation and Black Joy."

Sam, 30, at Occupy City Hall in City Hall Park: 

"It's fucking time to change, it's time for change and we've got to be out here."

Linds, 32, at Occupy City Hall in City Hall Park: 

"I've been on a protest eight days out of seven the last 32 days."

Jessica, 28, at Occupy City Hall in City Hall Park: 

"Even the statues on the top of these buildings don't agree with the way that this is being ran."

T, 22, at Fire & Thunder rally and march in East NY: 

"That's a huge part of the reason why I'm here: understanding that connection between capitalism and racism."

Nurse Yasmin, 52, at I Stand With Jennifer in Valley Stream, Long Island: 

"I'm going to work, but I wanted to stop by and show my solidarity and support."

Robert, 33, at Cancel The Rent Rally on Foley Square in Downtown: 

"I'm here to support the cause and to help anybody that needs help."

Eve, 48, at March Towards Community Safety in the Bronx: 

"My son was killed by a stray bullet, June 29th. So being against gun violence is very personal to me."

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