My first solo photo book #NotMyPresident documents protests against Donald J. Trump and his presidency over a five-year period. It features many courageous protestors exercising their First Amendment Rights to protect civil rights and the very fabric of democracy.
You can buy the book on Kickstarter through January 20 (Inauguration Day).
Why I Call Protestors Heroes
At times these protests dominated media headlines and cowed complicit conservatives and Trump himself into relenting. Other times, the protests received little attention. Always there was a cause.
These people contested ceaseless violations of civil rights and affronts against democracy. In some cases, they protested for the economic and physical wellbeing of families and communities.
Despite autocratic attempts to stifle them and their votes, a global pandemic, threatening right-wing counter-protesters, online harassment, and even a thinly veiled coup attempt—the protestors were victorious. They and millions of others across America ended Trump’s presidency through democratic means.
I believe these protestors are the heroes of our time.
Trump’s propaganda will slowly fade into the ether over time. But history will remember the tyranny and the protests it sparked. I believe they will be seen in a similar light as abolitionists in antebellum America, women demanding the right to vote during the industrial era, and civil rights activists in the 1960s.
The protests featured in this book are just a fraction of the thousands held across America since 2016. And then there were many actions people took online and privately to resist. Every single person who resisted Trump’s efforts to corrupt our government should be considered a hero.
The Right First Book For Me
Unquestionably, I could have published my first solo photo book on landscapes, national parks, or street photography. None of them meant as much to me as the valiant effort to defeat tyranny and extend the American Democracy for at least four more years.
My commitment to this journey was solidified in January of 2017. I had already blogged extensively against Trump and documented GOP and Democratic primary protests.
2016 election night and a massive Texan protest the next day, and the inauguration was fraught with tense protests and marred by violence. But when the Muslim ban happened just one week later, things changed for me.
A Resolution to PhotoJournal Trump Protests
The media portrayal of the Muslim ban protests differed from what I saw. I knew I needed to use my camera to illustrate people protesting their cases against tyranny and draconian policy.
Protest after protest, at times followed by long months of angst-ridden peace, I documented their stories. I posted them on Facebook and Instagram for my friends, and on Flickr for creative commons licensing so nonprofits, media, and the general public could find them.
Many times, the pictures showed a deeper story glossed over by the national media and thin local reporting corps:
- A soaking wet child marching in the rain to defend science education.
- An exhausted José Andrés serving food at his World Kitchen to furloughed federal workers.
- An African American woman yelling at Secret Service police because her government let her people down again and the president called her a rioter.
These are just a few of the images you will see in #NotMyPresident.
Even during the election, I had friends, family members, and taunting conservatives cautioning me not to shoot these events, calling the protestors violent rioters. While they believed the fear-mongering Trumpian propaganda generated by a few bad nights in June, my camera captured a different story. Here were people locked in the final throes of the battle for the soul of their country.
Chronicling for History
The past five years seemed like an existential battle over our democracy that we all experienced. Chronicling the protests in #NotMyPresident is an honor, and I believe something that should be done simply for historical purposes. The struggle must be remembered.
Buy #NotMyPresident to see protestors’ great struggle and eventual triumph over Trump. And help me preserve and protect the memories of these brave people in their efforts to protect civil rights, and the health and well-being of all Americans.