Monday, April 28, 2008

Photo Essay: Reaction to the Sean Bell Verdict-Friday April 25th 2008

NOT GUILTY????!!!!

I am just as astonished as everyone. Outraged like most. Saddened for my brother, and will join others in the pursuit of JUSTICE!

On Friday April 25th I joined hundreds of other Sean Bell supporters and media outside the Queens County Criminal Courthouse to hear the verdict of the Sean Bell murder trial. Sean Bell was a young UNARMED African American man whose body was riddled with bullets, killing him instantly, by three New York City Police Officers. Bell was to be married later the same day. The NOT GUILTY verdict sent a shockwave of raw emotion throughout the crowd outside the courthouse, as well as to people of African descent everywhere.

Below are some images that document the scene outside the courthouse moments after the verdict was read.

In memory of SEAN BELL and with my heartfelt condolences to the Bell's family and friends.

Awaiting the verdict.

One of several NYPD helicopters hover above the crowd.

A hopeful Bishop Lester Williams awaits the verdict. Bishop Williams was to marry Sean and his fiancee on the day he got shot.

I took this picture because I thought it was a great representation of being "on opposite sides of the fence".

Queens County Criminal Courthouse.

Police stand by for crowd control

The Not Guilty verdict is read, and the crowd reacts wih a mixture of emotion.

Trent Benefield, one of Sean Bell's friend's (middle) who was shot by police officers, leaves the courthouse supported by two of his friends.

Sean Bell's tearful uncle talks to someone about the verdict.

Silent, dignified rage.

An NYPD Police Officer shares a rare moment with a grief-stricken woman. This is my favorite shot from this series.

When Reverend Al Sharpton and Sean's fiancee, Nicole Paultre Bell emerged from the courthouse, the crowd of media and supporters swirled around them creating total and utter chaos. I jumped on the back of a news truck to take this shot. Thanks NBC!

But like a famous photographer once said, "If you're not close enough, you're not good enough". Here's a closer shot of the Reverend Al Sharpton and Nicole Bell as they leave the courthouse.

Joseph Guzman, the other shooting vicitm gets a show of support.

Renowned Attorney Sanford Rubenstein outside the courthouse. In this case, he's representing Nicole Bell.

In Memory of Sean Bell.

Sean Bell and his fiancee Nicole Paultre Bell.

To view images from the very first rally held days after Sean Bell's killing, please copy or click the link

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Bill--Sedona, Arizona 2008

On March 28th a group of friends headed out to Sedona, Arizona to fulfill our friend Bill Harmon's final wish. Bill, who transitioned on July 5, 2007 expressed to us that he wanted to be cremated and his ashes dispersed in Sedona, Arizona. For us, this was a mission like none other, and I'm happy that we were able to carry it out, especially given all the obstacles we faced (and subsequently overcame) due to the fact that we were not "blood" relatives.

On Bill's birthday March 29th, we hiked up one of the spectactular red rock mountains of Sedona, finding the ideal spot along the "Little Horse Trail". Simple, yet moving, we each took turns saying a few words about Bill, while a recording of his flute song "Peace" played serenely in the background. Afterwards, Steve and I dispered his ashes into the red earth. Bill is really and finally at peace now, and I was honored and blessed to have shared the experience with a group of special friends: K, Steve, Joe and Christina.

This is my second trip to Sedona. The first time was in 2004 when I went on a spiritual and cleansing retreat after I'd ended my thirteen year relationship. Upon my return, I showed Bill my photos from the trip. He had fallen in love with the beauty of the landscape, and admired my ability to seek out healing for myself. Bill loosely planned to make a trip to Sedona, but it never really least, not until now.

Below are some photos that show some of the beauty and wonder I experienced in the beautiful landscape of the Sedona desert. Click on the image if you want to see a larger view.

In loving memory of my best friend Bill Harmon. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BILL!

Portrait of Bill smiling, 2004

Aloe Plant.

Lone Cactus casts a shadow on the earth.

The trail where Bill's ashes were dispersed.

K took this cool shot of me hiking up Little Horse Trail.

Landscape views.


Red Rock Mountain. The city of Sedona's elevation is 4,500 feet above sea level.

House atop a mountain.

Cracked earth.

Bill's ashes.

Desert Cacti.

Dappled light along the path.

Steve disperses Bill's ashes.

Joe supports his partner Steve.

Steve, Joe, K, Christina picnic on a mountaintop.

Desert plant detail.

Following the path to the top.

Dead aloe, Still beautiful.

Bill's ashes cover the red earth.

Bill loved plants. I found it fitting that I scatter his ashes around these desert plants. Photo by K.

Bill's final resting place around the plant.