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En Foco Photographer

The Rise and Fall of Abolition park

Lisa DuBois | New York, United States

Organization: Enfoco

There was always a crew needed to watch out for the police at Abolition park. They knew the day would come when the police would tear down the little city of hope. Each day was lived for the moment . It was an exciting time to plan and to prepare for changing the world into a place more inclusive and fair for all citizens. The area outside City Hall is New York City's version of an “autonomous zone.”

In the summer of 2020, a tent city known as Abolition Park, was established in the autonomous zone near New York City Hall. The park was a place for protestors to bond and organize during one of the most contentious times in American history. 

A combination of the pandemic, police brutality, racial inequality and the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor triggered protests throughout the United States. Billionaires traded useless stocks and purchased new stock designed for a pandemic crisis while people lost jobs and faced eviction.

The public killing of George Floyd might have been ignored if it weren't  for so many unemployed focused on social media. These events triggered a groundswell of paranoia, anger and mistrust of the government. For the first time America's deepest and darkest secrets were exposed. The residents of Abolition Park looked at the Kafkaesque society we created and sought change.

On July 23rd, in a pre-dawn raid without warning, police in riot gear ambushed Abolition Park, demolished the tent city and removed the infrastructure along with hopes and dreams of a better world.

I woke up and checked my phone on July 23 and saw the video footage of  police moving in on the people in Abolition park.  An overwhelming sense of sadness came over me as I reflected on the day I spent there. Some of the people there were homeless and others were young people finding something to believe in.I thought about the medics in Abolition park ready to treat protestors for scrapes broken limbs. I wondered where will they go now for treatment when they get ambushed by the army of police and they are tossed back into society. 

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