By Erika Beras
When Katina Parker and her camera showed up at the Million Man March in 1995, the then-college student wasn’t sure what to expect. What she experienced that day – which she documented in beautifully textured and telling black and white stills – changed the course of her life.
The Million Man March was held on October 16, 1995 on the National Mall. It was convened by the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan and a host of civil rights organizations to address persisting problems facing African-Americans: high unemployment, high poverty rates and rampant violence that plagued urban African-American communities throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. The organizers also wanted to rewrite racial stereotypes in the media.
Over the next decade, more marches were organized to address the needs of specific African-American communities: The World Day of Atonement, The Million Woman March, The Million Youth March, Million Family March and the Millions More Movement. Parker was there for all of them.
Parker, who makes her home in Durham, North Carolina, has made everything from documentaries to music videos. She’s worked in an array of related fields as a media strategist and creative director – but she has always returned to thework of telling the story of the black struggle for freedom in America.
Her early work documenting the Millions movement had led her to where she is now: doggedly and passionately documenting the Black Lives Matter movement in photography and film as it unfolds in Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and elsewhere-- even at great personal risk.
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