The Art of Protest

In February, when the four New York City police officers who killed unarmed Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo in a barrage of gunfire were acquitted of murder, protesters took to the streets. Among them were members of Women in Mourning and Outrage, a group that seemed to emerge spontaneously from a wellspring of pain, anger, and frustration about racism and police brutality. The women held wallet-size photos of Diallo and wore black veils. The group’s initiator, visual artist Eve Sandler, says, “A feeling of community and purposefulness is a hallmark of our gatherings.” Sandler started by calling several friends and family members, but on the day of the protest in New York City, more than a hundred women joined the group. “Every woman who came and stood with us became a member,” Sandler says. “Some stayed for hours, some for an hour. The beauty is that it was very fluid.” The group will hold vigils whenever necessary. Says Sandler, “We’re still dealing with many forms of oppression and brutality.” The veiled women, she says, gave “visual expression and real ritual to our grief. In ritual we find solace and power, and we spur other people to action.” For more information go to www.womeninmourning.com.

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