July 11, 2016
It was a snapshot that captured history. Delicate, beautiful and mighty, Leisha Evans gracefully stood down Baton Rogue police officers in an image that stirred the nation. On the afternoon of Sunday, July 10, Baton Rogue officers acted with calculated brutality in response to young protesters. Their goal was to stifle the voices of demonstrators, angry over the police murder of two black men.
Moments in intense police confrontations made the streets of Baton Rogue look like a war zone. Americans shared the horrific images with President Obama via social media, petitioning him to “do something” to halt the aggressive behavior of the officers on the streets.
In was in this setting that a photo of officers, appearing to charge an unarmed woman was taken. The image was both breath taking and chilling. The officers were dressed in full riot gear. Leisha Evans donned a sundress. The contrast is glaring. The message was clear. With no weapon and posing absolutely threat, Leisha represented danger. She stood, with exposed wrists, offering herself for arrest.
Perhaps more chilling, was the realization that we, as a country, were back here again. The similarities between this moment and the iconic civil rights photos of the past were undeniable. So was the danger. Leisha, mother to a 5-year-old boy, was arrested on Sunday. An act of selflessness for a greater cause. Leisha stood for the humanity of her son. She represented the humanity of a people, of a nation. Black women, with their bodies, souls and gifts, have always fought for the humanity of our people. No modern image illustrates this more than Leisha’s in this soon-to-be historic photo.
Black women, with their bodies, souls and gifts, have always fought for the humanity of our people. No modern image illustrates this more than Leisha’s in this soon-to-be historic photo. She is the living, breathing Statue of Liberty,” remarked one observer on Twitter. We agree, she is.