On the day of the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14), held last week across the country, there was one protest photo that stood out above the rest.
It showed a black woman holding a sign that read, “I cannot believe I still have to protest this s—t,” as she attended a rally being held at Malcolm X Park in Washington, D.C.
That photo was retweeted over 3,000 times and left people wondering, “Who is she?”
According to Alternet, France Francois is the woman behind the iconic photo. The 28-year-old told Alternet that she didn’t realize her photo would resonate with so many people.
“I’m glad it sparked some conversation because I think, throughout the nation, we’re all asking ourselves this question,” she said. “‘How did we come here again? How did we find ourselves in this very same space?’”
Francois’ activism started way before Mike Brown. As a student at Florida State University, Francois protested the brutal killing of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson at the hands of “professionals” at a boot camp he was attending.
Francois told Alternet that she wasn’t even sure if she wanted to take her sign to the #NMOS14 event because she thought it would derail the purpose of the rally and that it would be perceived as rage because of the use of the curse word.
“For me, it goes back to the idea that we’re not allowed to feel these sentiments,” she said. “We always have to be stoic. We always have to make certain people comfortable and I really didn’t want to make anyone comfortable at that time. I felt angry. I felt fearful for my young brother and my younger cousin.”
Francois’ own time line on Twitter reinforces her voice of activism, not only in the United States, but as well as in Haiti.
Francois’ sign was a powerful truth and yes, it is unfortunate that we still have to protest this s—t.