Working Title: Archiving the Rashaad Parker Rochester Black Lives Matter Movement Project
“The people of this community have had enough of status quo politics and have a lot to say about dealing with the pandemic of racism in Rochester while simultaneously dealing with the coronavirus pandemic,” Parker said.
Parker’s artistic works focus on civil rights and social justice activities in and around our local community. Parker, who holds a master’s degree in fine arts from the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, is a visionary filmmaker documenting the times in which we live from the perspective of a Black man who has witnessed and been subjected to violence by the police. He is dedicated to presenting the voices and perspectives of those who entrust him to tell their stories unabridged. He sees the profound value in bringing artists together to collaborate and work toward a common equitable goal. That goal was centered around capturing the human response by the Rochester community involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement in the wake of the George Floyd tragedy, which exploded in protests worldwide. Yet in Rochester, this took on an even more personal heartbreak after discovering that police murdered Daniel Prude some three months before George Floyd, information hidden from the public for over five months. Parker works with a team of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) photographers and videographers. The photographers are Cocoa Rae David, Isaiah Santiago, Sean Dell Boose (South Town Images), Carina Christman, and Elijah Ross. The videographers are Bertram Torres (Mood Lit Images), Rashad Scott (The Renaissance NY), and Devin Anglin (Static Vibrations Network).
The archive Parker curated consists of photographs and videos, which encompasses an 18-minute documentary short film, Black Lives Matter: A sanctuary for Daniel Prude, and an on-the-street 20-minute video series entitled ROC City Speaks. Both projects seek to document the racial justice protests that unfolded after the murder of George Floyd and escalated in August with news of the March killing of Daniel Prude while in the custody of Rochester police.
The Rochester Area Community Foundation (RACF) awarded a grant to Parker and the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP), River Campus Libraries (RCL) to archive the footage he and several other BIPOC artists captured during 2020. The digital archive is now housed in RBSCP. Over the next two years, Parker, Jessica-Lacher Feldman (RBSCP), and Miranda Mims (RBSCP) will partner to preserve and make the archive assessable, develop more content, and leverage conversations in the community centered on race relations, police brutality, mental health crisis, public safety, and change movements in Rochester through outreach opportunities like public art, exhibitions, and programming.
RBSCP is interested in holding a space for a community of people and organizations engaged in work that progresses and contributes to our understanding and knowledge of Greater Rochester, New York’s social justice movements during the 20th and 21st centuries. Building on the legacy of so many inspiring social justice advocates of the 19th century, the intention is to further scholarship, programming, collection development, and community partnerships. Social justice is not just about organizing around legislative and political action; it includes the documentation of civic advocacy, protests, and community action through artist interpretation and expression…. exemplifies a model of how libraries and community organizations can partner to archive, preserve, and make accessible our shared cultural heritage.