Taking It To The Streets
Photograph by Eric Jankstrom
Dissenting voices collectively challenging unjust practices by governmental bodies in public spaces has been a method employed by citizens of this nation for centuries. The 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade, the 1963 March on Washington, and the 1969 Stonewall Riots each brazenly pushed the envelope on sociopolitical progress—making history in the process.
In the throes of a global pandemic, the world found itself stopped on its axis in 2020. Amidst the profound uncertainty, a rapid succession of police killings of Black Americans awakened the nation to the fact that injustice continued to wreak havoc on the inalienable and legal rights of the historically oppressed. During May of 2020, in response to the insufferable maladies of the criminal justice system, a small group of concerned citizens in New York City channeled their outrage into activism—sparking the biggest reoccurring mass cyclist protests in history.
Across lines of race, gender, age, and nationality, over 15,000 cyclists collectively commandeered and traversed New York City’s major thoroughfares and bridges on a weekly basis in the name of Black lives. Utilizing the bicycle as a tool for protest and constructive change, Street Riders NYC has effectively galvanized a critical mass that has the potential to change the course of resistance movements. These photos are a document of the group’s historic impact on a forever changed world.
Featuring: Armani Ortiz, Callum Cooper Nissen, Eric Jankstrom, Peter Cooper, Rico Washington, Toby Tenenbaum
About The Artists
Armani Ortiz is an emerging photographer from Canarsie, Brooklyn. He began immersing himself in the art of photography in 2017 and has been actively documenting the Black Lives Matter movement since May of 2020. Shortly thereafter, he became an activist with Street Riders NYC in June of 2020. Ortiz’s work was recently featured in the International Center of Photography’s exhibition “#ICPConcerned: Global Images for Global Crisis,” which ran through January 2021. His captivating style succinctly represents the sense of urgency consistent with many nascent young photographers of his generation—possessed with a passion to document their ever changing world. Instagram: @ArmaniLens
Callum Cooper Nissen began taking photographs and cycling a few years ago, and has found the two a delightful combination. The precision of a telephoto lens and the spontaneity of a bike ride allow any angle to be caught from just about anywhere. Cooper Nissen appreciates how protests for social justice have formed lasting communities of photographers and cyclists, and hopes that these communities continue to rally for the self-determination of American minorities. He grew up in New York and now studies economics and evolutionary psychology at Penn State University. He plans on working to defund and dismantle harmful state monopolies on policing, education, and financial security that prevent American minorities from improving their lives. Instagram: @StraySimian
Eric Jankstrom is a New York City-based cinematographer, photographer, editor, and producer. Since 2001, he has traveled the world on his quest to tell compelling visual stories. Through a range of platforms that include network series, documentary film, and investigative journalism, Jankstrom has covered major events both locally and globally while working for both NBC and Efran Films. Highlights of his work include the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the historic 2008 election of former President Barack Obama, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the devastating aftermath of the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. He is driven by a passion for creating visual narratives that honestly depict our human stories in a broader social context. Jankstrom is a recovering college dropout, a 2001 graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, and an advocate for unconventional education. Instagram: @The_Jank
Peter Cooper is a Brooklyn-based photographer, editor, and video producer who has been documenting social justice, culture, and humanity since 2010. His photographs have been published in the New York Times, Forbes, Salon, Harlem Community News, Hyperallergic and the Uptown Collective. In 2016, the National Black Theatre featured his debut photo exhibit of street portraits celebrating joy in the Black community, as part of The Alchemy of Black Joy. Guided by his intuition and curiosity, Cooper is committed to documenting and amplifying the human experience. Instagram: @iAmPeterCooper
Toby Tenenbaum is an award-winning freelance photographer whose work has been featured in prominent publications including Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly and Billboard. Tenenbaum has spent nearly 20 years honing his craft and enhancing his reputation as one of New York City’s most prolific live music photographers. He also enjoys the expansive realm of travel photography to counterbalance his passion for capturing the intimacy of live performance. Instagram: @TobyTenenbaum
DC-area native Rico Washington has utilized his talents as a storyteller across various platforms. As a journalist, he has served as a staff writer, music editor, and freelance writer for various media outlets including Wax Poetics, Okayplayer, and Ebony.com. He has covered high profile industry events (the Grammys), penned feature stories on R&B icons (Erykah Badu), legendary comedians (Chris Rock, the late Bernie Mac), groundbreaking visual and performance artists (Sanford Biggers, Jacolby Satterwhite), and forecast the next generation of trendsetting recording artists (Kaytranada, Teyana Taylor, SZA). He has also composed over 30 album liner note essays for the CD reissues of classic R&B and soul albums. In the realm of music supervision, Washington has overseen the soundtracks of various web series and award-winning films. As an interdisciplinary artist, his projects have been exhibited internationally, and praised by the likes of lauded scholar and documentarian Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and featured in media outlets such as NPR. He has presented at institutions such as New York University, the New School, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He is currently a team lead with Street Riders NYC. Instagram: @superbizzeeshoots
About The Organization
Street Riders NYC is a collective, a movement, and a community born in the streets of New York City. Co-founded by Peter Kerre, Street Riders NYC has a collective interest in cycling to protest, while providing cycling support and protection to other protest groups across the city which focus on issues of justice—for the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as police reform, defunding and abolition, racial equality, and community direct action.