Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge
Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge is a photograph of Ieshia Evans, a nurse from Pennsylvania, being arrested by police officers dressed in riot gear during a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on 9 July 2016. The protest began in the aftermath of the shooting by police of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The image, taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters, became a viral phenomenon on social media, described by several media organizations as "iconic", with some comparing the image (and Evans) to the photograph of "Tank Man" in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
At the protest on July 9, 2016, which followed the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and of Philando Castile in Minnesota by police officers, Ieshia Evans was photographed by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters news agency confronting a line of police in riot gear. The image shows a young woman in a flowing dress standing with her arms crossed facing down a line of heavily armed police while two armored officers rush forward to put her in handcuffs. The photograph became a viral phenomenon on social media.
Evans was attending her first protest when she was arrested, having traveled to Baton Rouge after seeing news coverage of the shooting of Sterling. She was detained, held overnight and released on the evening of the next day.
Multiple media organizations described the image as "iconic".[a] The German television channel n-tv described Evans as the "icon" of the protest. Teju Cole, writing for the New York Times Magazine, said that "in spite of, or because of, its simple narrative, Bachman's photograph became an icon. It joined a small group of other images connected to the Black Lives Matter movement", including images of a man throwing a tear gas canister back at police during a protest in Ferguson, Missouri after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, Bree Newsome taking down a Confederate flag at the South Carolina State House, and activist DeRay Mckesson being arrested in Baton Rouge, also while protesting Sterling's death.
The photograph drew comparisons to images of previous civil rights demonstrations as well as the image of "Tank Man" taken during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Yoni Appelbaum commented for The Atlantic:
There are images that are impossible to forget, searing themselves into our collective consciousness. One man staring down a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square. A high school student attacked by police dogs in Birmingham, Alabama. This is such a photo.
Evans was interviewed by Gayle King for CBS This Morning, and the public radio program Studio 360 later commissioned Tracy K. Smith to write a poem on the subject of the image. The photograph was included in The New York Times' "The Year in Pictures 2016".
After the protest Evans was critical of the 2016 election candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as well as former President Barack Obama. She has been a vocal critic of the Trump Administration and has stated that she would like to see more whistle-blowing due to skepticism surrounding the issues of social justice.
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- Evans, Ieshia (July 22, 2016). "I wasn't afraid. I took a stand in Baton Rouge because enough is enough". The Guardian.
- Jenkins, Colleen (July 11, 2016). "Nurse in photo describes her arrest in Baton Rouge as 'work of God'". Reuters.