Sacred Space.

The images coming out of the newly renamed Marcus-David Peters Circle in Richmond, Virginia are powerful. They do not adequately prepare one for exactly how emotionally moving it is to stand in that space and bear witness to history.
On the outskirts of the park, on surrounding corners and fanning out down the intersecting streets are mutual aid stations – water, food, first aid, even a booth registering voters. In the park itself, in addition to the memorials and tributes, is a free bike repair station as well as a free little library. Community for and by the community.
It’s not just the base of the statue covered in messages – the streets leading to the park as well as the concrete barriers encircling the park have been decorated in colorful graffiti. There are layers upon layers of messages, freehand and stencil, on every possible surface, creating a kaleidoscope, all protesting the same thing – white supremacy, police brutality. Over and over, the phrase, “Let us breathe”.
Circling the base of the statue are tributes to Black lives lost to police brutality. There are larger tributes on opposite sides of the base for Elijah McClain. Breonna Taylor and George Floyd‘s faces are stenciled and painted in multiple places around the park. People of all walks of life mill about, paying tribute, photographing themselves, photographing the space, bearing witness. The smell of marijuana, newly decriminalized in the state of Virginia, wafts in the breeze. There is a quiet, peaceful hush in daylight hours to a place that has been host to weeks worth of protest, sometimes violent.
This space, a spaced originally designed to intimidate, has been reclaimed for and by the people. This is a sacred space.

4 thoughts on “Sacred Space.

  1. Aileen says:

    I haven’t been to RVA lately, but these images are breathtaking.

    The Marcus David Peters story is especially heartbreaking. The Richmond police have shown again and again how brutal they are.

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