Globe photographer Jared Stanger has been following the anti-racism protests taking place in Salt Lake City. Browse his photos and read his op-ed on the events that have unfolded in Utah’s capital city in recent weeks.
June 6, 2020
Op-ed from June 2, 2020
This week, I have witnessed firsthand the power of demonstration. I have seen beautiful, constructive behavior from protesters and from police officers who want nothing more than to see the world as a better place and are striving to do their part.
I have seen the other end of the spectrum as well: emotions that have boiled over from lifetimes of not having your voice heard through peaceful action. This came out in many forms: mainly graffiti, hate speech, and destruction of public property.
I have seen police escalate peaceful situations through instigating and intimidation, and I have seen police deescalate problematic protesters hellbent on instigating violence. Through it all, I can see that the majority of people on both sides want essentially the same thing; to find a solution to a problem that plagues our black community: systematic racism, and police brutality.
These protests have brought the conversation to the forefront of our nation’s attention, and it is up to the people to stand up for what is right and be willing to see each other’s perspectives.
Be open to changing not only our opinions and world views, but change the system so we can all have a fair shake. Misconceptions from both opposing viewpoints, and an unwillingness by a small portion of both parties to talk openly and with an open mind, keep us from this goal.
The solution will never be black or white, but will be found as a grey tone somewhere in the middle — one that will take an extreme effort from our entire populace to find. I implore you to seek out positive solutions on whatever level you can, whether through the polls or by finding a way to use your talents to make the world a better place.
Here are photos from my firsthand experience and interactions with Salt Lake City protesters and the Salt Lake City Police Department. I hope they help you move towards the middle so we can come to a permanent solution to systematic injustice.
Editor’s note: The police-involved death of George Floyd sparked dozens of protests around the United States, including downtown Salt Lake City. Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died in police custody on May 25. Eyewitness video shows a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes before Floyd lost consciousness. Floyd was unarmed.
Utah Against Police Brutality organized the May 30 protest, which initially started out peaceful. As the day progressed, several acts of vandalism occurred, including the burning of a Salt Lake City police vehicle. Globe photographer Jared Stanger witnessed the protests firsthand and captured numerous photos of the demonstrations. Click a photo below to open one of the daily galleries.