On August 6, 2016, TopTia was humbled to follow a group of peaceful protesters in downtown Tokyo. Social media played a big role in reaching local and international audiences as the hashtags, #0806blmshibuya and #blacklivesmatter were marched around the Shibuya ward last Saturday. Henry Moreland Seals of Tokyo Black Professionals and Amber Richardson of the African American Youth Travel Program, both organized the march and lead 50+ protesters from start to finish in the 37 degree heat.
Seals and Richardson hoped to use their voices and talents to spread the message of peace and equality for African-American victims of police brutality. The march served as a plea to ” …join together to raise our voices with the millions of voices already in the fight to end the state terror directed at men and women of color in the United States.” In addition, August 6th also marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima making the march a symbolic act of peace and unity for both Japan and the US.
For me, it was the first time documenting a march protest. Remaining focused and determined to photograph the sweat and tears protesters had while walking through Shibuya Crossing, Omotesando and Yoyogi Park. Furthermore, it was absolutely necessary to photograph the diversity of the march’s participants as well as responses from their by-standing audiences.
As an American and a person of color, it was an honor to be asked to photograph the event in its entirety.