Black Lives Matter Protest Portland, Maine

A story by Joanne Arnold from JUNE 2020

Police Station Portland, Maine June 04 2020

When George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police and protests were organized in Portland during the COVID19 pandemic, I chose not to attend protests but would each day spend time at the Portland Police Station at dawn examining the protest signs that were left there.

My photographic images were made each day at about 5 AM. I found it a process of reckoning with my own feelings. Maybe it was an attempt to let these BLM voices speak and to 'shut up' myself as I dove into listening to these voices and doing my own work to examine white privilege. The posters ranged from educational to outrage. From frank demands to whispers of grief. I would find candles still lit from the night before. Flower bouquets. Small offerings such as origami cranes. Objects were rearranged daily. More added. Some moved. It grew in size and texture. It became an organic street memorial that I looked forward to discovering each morning and learning from.

Until one day when someone, having seen my post on Facebook, interpreted it as 'trash' and removed all the items and brought them to the dump and recycling. I was bereft. I remain bereft.

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