Now more than ever, the world is taking a stand against racism, Agora photographers included. The #StopRacism initiative was launched to give the Agora platform over those up to express themselves in this time and those who want to show support to the movement. 'I can't breathe' by Kenyan photographer @onyangodennis has been voted by the global community as the photo which best reflects the urgent need to #StopRacism.
With it being such an overwhelming time for many in racialized communities, photo app Agora postponed the launch of its #Smile2020 contest to launch the #StopRacism initiative and keep the crucial anti-racist momentum going. Because black lives matter every day, not just when it's trending.
Agora launched the #StopRacism initiative through its free-to-use mobile app on June 5th. Unlike the regular contests, the global community of photographers had only one week to participate and unite their points of view in this worldwide manifesto against racism. In total, 2,120 photos have been submitted from all corners of the world, and 48 were selected to make it to the final voting rounds. Thereafter, the Agora userbase had the power to cast their votes and pick the photo which best reflected the urgent need to #StopRacism.
What would usually be a $1000 prize for the most-voted finalist photo will be donated equally to Black Lives Matter, The Bail Project, NAACP, and @reclaimtheblock organizations.
Agora is a mobile app where photographers, whether amateur or professional, can participate in photo contests for a chance to win international recognition and cash prizes (from $1,000 to $25,000). The app’s global system enables its global audience to vote and pick the best images from each competition, making the process more inclusive and democratic than any other traditional photography contest.
"A massive thank you to everyone involved in this exceptional contest, photographers and voters alike - for using their voices to speak out against racial injustice and for supporting creators around the world. Together we support Humanity's talent regardless of race or all markers of identity and make a difference through photography. Racism has no place in our society. Power to the people worldwide," - Octavi Royo, Agora's CEO & Co-Founder.
More info: agoraimages.com
Location: Gijón, Spain
"My daughter met her best friend on her first day at school. Since then, they've been inseparable. Children aren't born racist, they are taught hate."
Black Lives Matter Demonstration
Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
The Human Race Is The Only Race That Should Exist
Location: Cape Coast, Ghana
"I wanted to show that despite our physical appearance or race, we can still love each other regardless... and that regardless of our genders, we can love freely."
Location: Rimini, Italy
"We came to the beach in the evening and saw a group of young people dancing to the music. My son Yegor was getting very curious, so one of the guys invited him to teach him how to dance. Yegor was so delighted to have made a new friend!"
On Ne Naît Pas Raciste, On Le Devient
Location: Rennes, France
"People aren't born racist. Racism is something that is learned. Educate your children from an early age about tolerance, respect for others, equality."
May It Be
Location: Cape Coast, Ghana
The idea was to send out a plea as a form of prayer from two souls from different ethnicities and cultures. We wanted to get the audience to feel the connection between two humans.
Location: A Coruña, Spain
"Neither black nor white: we are humans."
Winner: I Can't Breathe
Location: Dandora, Nairobi, Kenya
"Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. It may be defined as the hatred of one person by another — or the belief that another person is less than human — because of skin color, language, customs, place of birth or any factor that supposedly reveals the basic nature of that person. It has influenced wars, slavery, the formation of nations, and legal codes. It needs to stop now: we all are humans, so let's show humanity."
Love Has No Borders
Location: Tours, France
"Here are my sister, her husband, and their beautiful son. It was such a pleasant shooting session with no pretense. I wanted to show the beauty of their mixed family."
Black Lives Matter
Location: Recife, Brazil
"I would like this photo to be shown to everyone as a promise that better days are ahead of us: I'm confident that future generations will be stronger than we are today. I asked Naldinho, the boy in the photo if he knew what did the raised fist symbolize, and he said no. I had the honor to explain to him that when we raise our fists in the air, this gesture symbolizes our fighting spirits in resistance and unity. I told him how important it was to raise his fist for the next generations of Blacks in Brazil, and that he never should bow his head to racism because Black Lives Matter."
Location: Ottawa, Canada
"Ottawa, as with many places, has seen unacceptable actions by police. My shots of this event sought to hide identities for protection, but here I wanted to convey that those of us who aren't black don't need to have our egos or identities proclaimed here. Thousands of us were there in support of the black community to show our leaders that this may be a minority affected, but this is not a minority value. This should not be surprising, but this was an entirely peaceful event with thousands in attendance and strong support for our black community. Nearly everyone I saw wore a mask to protect each other amid a pandemic."
The Love We Give
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
"I wanted to convey a feeling of calmness and love."
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
"On a Monday evening, my brother, our neighbors, and I gathered to play football in my compound. After playing, I observed such a strong bond between my neighbors that it inspired me to pick up my camera to capture that moment."
Location: Los Angeles, USA
"Two close friends, just after graduating high school. True friendships last through college and beyond..."
When Cultures Come Together
Location: Leuven, Belgium
"Here's a Belgian mother, an Afghan father, and their newborn son. Despite their different cultural background, they express the same feelings for each other and their baby: tenderness & respect."
Location: Kermanshah, Iran
"No race is superior or inferior to another. We're all the same."
Black Lives Matter
Location: Paris, France
"Thousands of people joined the banned protest over George Floyd's death in the US, Adama Traoré's death in France, racial injustice, and police violence."
Location: Police Station, San Francisco, USA
Together We Are Stronger Than Ever
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
"We should unite because there is only one race, the human race."
Location: New York, USA
"It's great to see how we have been united in these difficult times to show unity and support. People were cheering the protest from there balconies. You could feel the energy of New York."
Protesting The Murder Of George Floyd
Location: Colorado, USA
United We Stand
Location: Accra, Ghana
"It is important to show how strong we are when we stand together to fight racism. We need to raise a common flag for Africa toward peace and equality everywhere we go."
Put Your Fist Up!
Location: Vigo, Spain
"When injustice becomes law, and resistance becomes duty."
Dark Is The Real Color Of Beauty
Location: Bhopal, India
"In many cultures around the world, the concept of beauty is very much focused on the melanin in our skin. In India, the skin tone often defines success, social rank, and the ability to find work or a spouse."
Location: Salamanca, España
"Germain arrived in Spain with big dreams. Immigrant teachers play a critical role in our children's education."
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
"Supporters rest their hands on Shannelle Thompson as she speaks at a protest in support of justice for George Floyd and ending systemic racism in the United States. Shannelle Thompson organized and lead a march in the small North Dakota town of Grand Forks. Over 500 people were estimated to have attended. Marchers walked through the small downtown streets chanting "No justice, no peace," "Black Lives Matter," and more, stopping along the way to allow city leaders and other marchers to speak and express their support."
A Peaceful Protest
Location: Fresno, USA
"There was a mix of frustration, hope, excitement, and fear."
Why Do We Suffer?
Location: Akure, Nigeria
"The photo actually depicts the level of suffering amongst blacks. Racism is not just White against Black. It is what differentiates us and serves as a tool of oppression towards one another."
Protest Movement Against Racism In Germany
Location: Stuttgart, Germany
"We need to keep pushing forward for more human rights and equality for all. Where is the love for the people? Don’t blame and hate each other. Let us start hand in hand to build a better world! Without racism and social justice. Stand up and join us to revolutionize the world!"
Location: London, United Kingdom
"I wanted to convey the emotions of being overwhelmed by mental illness. My project aimed to showcase mental illness from a black young girl perspective. In today’s world, one can argue that mental illness is twice as hard on black bodies. Due to the added impact of racism, black people are faced with twice the trouble- those born with inherited mental illness into a world where discrimination due to the colour of one's skin is ingrained. This is an autoportrait of myself and my struggle with OCD and ADHD."
No Description Needed
Location: California State Capitol Museum, Sacramento, United States
"We have the power to change the world by being united as one. These women expressed how they feel in their posters and I felt compelled to share their messages through the power of photography. Women's rights are human rights, diversity is celebrated, love is love, and black lives matter to all of us."
We Stand Together
Location: Lawrence, USA
"This image was aimed at bringing people together to stand for a special cause: women empowerment. However, a well-told story yesterday can serve a pressing issue today. During times like this in the US, where racial tension still exists, this image resonates with a lot of people. It is important for all of us to come together and stand up against any form of injustice. As a Ghanaian-American photographer based in the US, I have had my own fair share of racism. But through Christ, I have risen up this kind of injustice. I am a believer in building lasting relationships and with these relationships, we can begin opening up for conversations and begin healing. There is hope for anyone whose thinking is flawed."
Location: Langa, South Africa
@frenchclichephotography (South Africa)
Location: Ivory Coast
"I took this photo to express this stigma that affects us all."
@sirfriedwil (Ivory Coast)
Just Walking Around When I Saw This
Location: Cumberland, USA
Memorial For George Floyd
Location: Bayonne, USA
"All of our stories are powerful: words are power. A photo has been said to be worth a thousand words. How could I possibly capture this moment with the correct combination of letters? Above all else, this is a story of humanity. This photo is a symbol for anyone who has ever loved. My seven-year-old son made this sign with his father, a moment that is pivotal in his life, even if he doesn’t quite grasp it yet. I am white. Mateo’s father is Puerto Rican and Black. His uncle and his grandmom are black. My mother is Sicilian. The list of ancestry is deeply diverse and I am proud. My son is a representation of many races and backgrounds. His entire family, above labels and origins, is full of love. This photograph represents the injustice of our world and all of the humans that have been scarred by a loss that should never have happened. It stands for all of the unspoken deaths each day in our world. It shouts for the names that we do not know, and for the families that cry unheard tears."
Location: Norfolk, United States
Se Puede Decir Más Alto, Pero No Más Claro
Location: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
"I believe that, following the murder of George Floyd, people have become more aware that we should all be equal, no matter the skin color."
Location: Vienna, Austria
"It was the first protest after the corona lockdown, I wanted to show the positive energy of 50,000 people peacefully fighting and standing strong together."
Bolivia Exige Derechos Humanos
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
"The Bolivian community is the second-largest among the immigrant groups in Argentina. After the coup d'état that occurred in their country last year, they gathered to protest for their human rights to be respected."
Peaceful Protestors Gathering In Front Of The Mission Police Department
Location: San Francisco, USA
"Civil unrest and protests have swept across the nation as a result of the recent police brutality events. I had the opportunity to attend the San Francisco solidarity protest to support and amplify the black lives matter. The emotion I wanted to capture was the sense of community and power when thousands of people get together for justice. Despite being in the middle of a pandemic and having thousands of people in attendance, the protest was surprisingly peaceful. There wasn't any violence or looting as the media portrays. Instead, many protestors were handing out free masks, snacks, and water to ensure everyone remained safe and healthy. The energy of the community was empowering."
San Diego Protest
Location: San Diego, USA
Black Lives Matter Protest, Birmingham
Location: Birmingham, UK
"While marching during the protest we were coming over a hill where you could see everyone from a distance participating and fighting for what is right. To me, this photo shows the strength and courage we have in numbers and the capability for us to be able to speak out as a whole to fight for black lives and stop the injustice in our system. The protest ended with a peaceful knee face to face confrontation with the police in riot gear."
Location: Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK
"Over 200 people turned up to protest despite the COVID lockdown. Stroud is mainly a white town, with this photo I wanted to reflect the solidarity towards the ethnic population."
Location: Madrid, Spain
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
"I felt really close to the BLM movement. Apart from supporting people in the USA with donations and educating myself through reading, I thought showing up at the protest in Rotterdam center was absolutely important. Even if we couldn’t march for social distancing reasons, 4 times the amount of the expected crowd showed up at the Erasmus bridge. It was a bit hard to interact with people when you have to keep 1,5m from each other, but the program included music and touching speeches. To me, this image represents the new 2020 way of protesting: the smartphone, especially when social distancing measures are applied, have become essential to communicate with others, and share important information. Social media, even if controversial sometimes, are the main tools to fight for our causes."
Marching For Justice
Location: Los Angeles, USA
"Until that day I had kept my distances from everyone because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But then I realized that what we're facing is bigger than me or any other individual. The protest started small and suddenly got flooded with many beautiful people: it became a river with many different paths. I passed by a vehicle where an African-American lady was in tears with both sorrow and excitement. I was there to put my voice out against racism, sorrow, anger, and sadness. Let's create a better future for our brothers and sisters from different colors, cultures, and beliefs."