WXXI AM News

Grant helps archive local Black Lives Matter movement

Dec 3, 2020

Rashaad Parker
Credit Visual Studies Workshop

A project at the Visual Studies Workshop dedicated to archiving Rochester’s Black Lives Matter Movement is the first to receive partial funding from the Rochester Area Community Foundation’s Art Prevail Fund. The purpose of the grant is to promote racial equity in the arts, and to document local history using various art forms.

Local Filmmaker and VSW graduate student Rashaad Parker is the project’s coordinator. Parker said that he had already been documenting many of the protests around Rochester before he was approached to curate the project.

Part of Parker’s senior thesis, a series of videos titled “Roc City Speaks” will be used as a second component to the project. In it, he speaks to protesters face-to-face.

“We have collected rallies and protest marches and footage of both video and photography. We have done personal interviews with some of the leaders and organizers of the movement,” said Parker.

Parker has gathered hundreds of photos and video footage with the help from his team of eight local Black photographers and videographers.

The total grant awarded to archive the movement is just over $46,000.

Parker said he’s humbled by the opportunity and will do his best to preserve this moment in history for future generations.

“It is the story of our lives. It is the story of how people are feeling. And it is their response to these racial injustices that we all suffered for so long. Being able to capture that story is paramount,” said Parker.

The photo archive and installation is currently in production. Parker plans for it to be ready in January.