The Women’s Action Coalition demonstrates at the opening of the Guggenheim Soho to protest the lack of women artists in the museum’s inaugural exhibition. June 25, 1992. © Lisa Kahane
Today, as I prepare to walk the streets of Los Angeles in protest to maintain many things that I hold near and dear, I am featuring a new exhibition that speaks to the legacy of protest. As Americans, we are so privileged to have the ability to shout our opinions, wave our signs, and take to the streets in order to make our voices heard. The exhibition, Whose Streets? Our Streets?: New York City, 1980-2000, has just opened at the Bronx Documentary Center and will run through March 5, 2017. This well-received exhibit is co-curated by Meg Handler, former photo editor of The Village Voice, historian Tamar Carroll, author of Mobilizing New York: AIDS, Antipoverty and Feminist Activism, and Michael Kamber, founder of the Bronx Documentary Center (BDC). The exhibit was designed and produced by the BDC’s Cynthia Rivera and Bianca Farrow.
The exhibition features work by thirty seven independent photojournalists and captures ordinary New Yorkers as they rallied, rioted, marched, and demonstrated. These images document historic moments of violent confrontation such as the Tompkins Square Park and Crown Heights Riots and as well as organized protests involving non-violent civil disobedience and creative street theater. Collectively, these photographs, which have never before been exhibited together, chronicle New York’s history from 1980-2000. During these two decades of swift economic and demographic change, residents grappled with social issues including race relations, police brutality, housing and gentrification, AIDS and gay and lesbian rights, reproductive rights, U.S. foreign policy and military actions, art and the culture wars, environmental and animal rights issues, and education and labor relations.
The photographers include: Nina Berman, Bill Biggart, Donna Binder, Maximo Colon, Donna DeCesare, Ricky Flores, Frank Fournier, David Gonzalez, Lori Grinker, James Hamilton, Meg Handler, Lisa Kahane, Mike Kamber, Gabe Kirchheimer, Carolina Kroon, Corky Lee, Meryl Levin, Andrew Lichtenstein, Tracey Litt, Dona Ann McAdams, Thomas McGovern, Tomas Muscionico, Marilyn Nance, Edwin Pagán, Brian Palmer, Clayton Patterson, Mark Peterson, Sandra-Lee Phipps, Sylvia Plachy, Alon Reininger, Richard Renaldi, Clarence Elie-Rivera, Joseph Rodriguez, Linda Rosier, Q. Sakamaki, Richard Sandler, Catherine Smith and Les Stone.
Squatters attempt to defend their building by blocking the street with overturned cars and trash before an expected attack by the police on East 13th Street. © Andrew Lichtenstein
A protester is carried away during an ACT-UP Stop the Church direct action at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on December 10th, 1989.© Brian Palmer
Picketing restaurant waiters and community members protest outside Jing Fong Restaurant whose management illegally took waiter’s tips to pay for social security. NY State Attorney General fined the largest restaurant in Chinatown $1.13 million in 1995. © Corky Lee
Manhattan, March, 1999. Demonstration in front of the New York Stock Exchange to demand the indictment of the four policemen who killed Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old unarmed immigrant from Guinea. ©Frank Fournier Contact Press Images
Tompkins Square Park riot, New York City, 1988. © James Hamilton
NYC protesters take to the streets in response to the acquittal of the officers involved in the beating of Rodney King. Some Asian-owned groceries such as this one were vandalized. April 1992. © Linda Rosier
Brooklyn, 1991. A woman walks by a line of police during the Crown Heights race riots in Brooklyn. This was a three-day racial riot that occurred from August 19th to 21st and pitted African American and Caribbean Americans against Jewish residents. ©Mark Peterson
Pro-choice demonstrators in downtown Manhattan protest the July 3rd, 1989 Supreme Court Webster decision which limited Roe V Wade. This was a turning point in the pro-choice movement. 24 were arrested, including activist Mary Lou Greenberg, as they stormed the Brooklyn Bridge. © Nina Berman
Bensonhurst residents hold up watermelons to mock African American protestors who took to the streets of the largely Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn following the acquittal of Bensonhurst resident Keith Mondello in the shooting death of 16-year-old African American Yusef Hawkins on May 19, 1990. Hawkins, who had gone to the neighborhood to look at a used car, was met by a white mob and shot to death. © Ricky Flores
A group called “Women in Mourning and Outrage” hold up photographs of Amadou Diallo during a rally in front of the United Nations. The rally was held after the acquittal of four New York City police officers involved in the shooting of Mr. Diallo, who was unarmed. February 27, 2000. ©Ricky Flores
Day of Outrage demonstration at the Jay Street-Borough Hall subway station following the Howard Beach verdict on December 21, 1987 in which three defendants were found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Michael Griffith who was beaten and chased by a white mob onto a highway where he was struck by a car. © Ricky Flores
Pro-choice rally. NYC 1992 © Sandra Lee Phipps
A man protests the death sentence handed down against Mumia Abu Jamal who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer. © Sylvia Plachy