Portrait of a Bay Area Freedom Fighter

Oakland has a long, deep tradition of activism. From the Black Panthers to the Black Block of the occupy movement to the most recent Black Lives Matters movement,

strong advocates for common humanity make Oakland home. As an observer of the city’s movements for the last decade, Pancho stands out as a figure reminiscent of Mario Salvio who doesn’t hold back to speak truth to power. He carries a flag imprinted with a globe because universal human rights is his cause.

On this day he was happy to meet Bobby Seale, who graciously granted I take a portrait of them together. I meant for this shot to have historical significance as it shows the penthouse that Huey P. Newton lived at when we was finally exonerated from attempt of murder charges in his infamous 1968 case.

Pancho reminds me of one of those prophets in Biblical time whose commitment to truth and justice defines his conviction to refuse excess, rely on the bare essentials to finds rightiousness.  I love that the camera reveals these figures to me as I realize that without it I would miss the Ghaindi’s and King’s around me.

–JMG

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