This Is What A Determined Mother Looks Like

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 
Image via Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Ieshia Evans, mother to five-year-old boy, identified as woman in iconic protest photo

In the midst of all the images that have come out of the Black Lives Matter protests since the senseless murder of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, there is one that is spreading like wildfire because it is… difficult to describe with words.

This is what power looks like.

It’s not the kind of power that wears riot gear and travels in tanks — it’s the kind of power you can’t strip off at the end of the day. It’s the kind of power no one can take from you, no matter how big their army is.

The woman in this picture is Ieshia Evans. She’s from Brooklyn, New York, but currently resides in Pennsylvania. She’s a nursing assistant.

She’s a mother.

She stands calm, upright, unmoved. Her feet are firmly planted on the ground, and you can actually see the power radiating from her. By contrast, the men in full riot gear in front of her look unstable — like you could knock them over with a match.

This photo will be in history books, and those of us on the right side of history will look back at this image and remember where we were the first time we saw it. Evans was arrested along with hundreds of other protesters over the weekend.

When Daily News writer Shaun King shared this photo over the weekend, a friend of Ieshia, R. Alex Haynes, messaged King in the comment section.”This is my Best friend that I have known since we were 8 (20 years now). Her name is Ieshia and she has a 5-year-old son,” Haynes wrote. “She went to Baton Rouge because she wanted to look her son in the eyes to tell him she fought for his freedom and rights. They haven’t released her as of yet but she’s fine. And yes, she is everything you see in this photo + so much more. Thank you for sharing this. It’s beautiful!”

“This was the first time she travelled to protest and she did so because she has a son she wants a better future for,” Natasha Haynes — Alex Haynes’ wife and lifelong friend to Evans — wrote in a message to Scary Mommy. “From my understanding — per our conversation earlier — she was overcome with emotions while she was watching the protest. The officers wanted to push the protesters and viewers further back and she found that unjust — given it was a peaceful protest.” This was a protest in Baton Rouge over the weekend. Several troubling images of protesters surrounded by militarized police forces have surfaced.

These are people protesting peacefully with signs being met by a military force. According to The Daily Beast, the following group of protesters were given safe haven by a woman and allowed to stand on her lawn — private property. Police are arresting protesters who block streets, as that is illegal, but peaceful protest on sidewalks and private property is not. In the video, police officers pull protesters into the street, then arrest them for being there.

Protests are arising because men were shot — at point blank range — by officers who took it upon themselves to be judge, jury, and executioner. This is not justice — that’s not an officer’s job.

This is not about citizens vs. cops. The police department in the peaceful protest in Dallas were posing with protesters. Supporting them. The department was tweeting images of the protest itself before chaos erupted thanks to a madman with a gun.

It’s not “anti-cop” to point out that no police officer should be able to pull over a man for a busted taillight, and shoot to kill into a car with a child in the backseat. It’s not anti-cop to point out that approaching peaceful protesters in full riot gear can never end well. When did our police force — who is supposed to “serve and protect” — become militarized against us? And why is anyone okay with that?

“I’m sure her message will be the same as other BLM activists,” Haynes said. “Stop killing our black men and create a future for black children.”

“She wanted to be able to look at her son in the eyes and say that she fought for a better future for him.”

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