This Woman’s Project Depicting Gun Violence Victims’ Last Words Is Incredibly Powerful

“I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting.”

1. As the events in Ferguson, Mo., continue, one journalist and filmmaker created an image series titled “Last Words,” which depicts 11 victims of police violence and their last words before dying.

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

Shirin Barghi, the creator of these images, posted these photos on her Facebook and Imgur, alongside a news story with the quote of the victims’ last words.

2. Barghi told BuzzFeed in an email she made these images because “the struggle to dismantle structures of oppression resonated with me.”

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

“I came of age in a country where police violence and state repression was pervasive,” she said. “While the shape and color of that violence changes from place to place, its fundamental characteristics are sadly predictable and universal.”

3. Barghi, a Muslim-Iranian woman, felt a need to create these images because it spoke to her experience.

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

“Seeing the way the authorities here used terms like “rioters” and “looters” to dismiss and trivialize overwhelmingly non-violent demonstrations in Ferguson was painful,” said Barghi. “It brought back vivid memories of similar tactics used by Iranian officials against protestors in 2009.”

4. By focusing on the victims’ last words, Barghi wanted to created a dialogue beyond statistics.

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

“Seeing these last words makes it harder to ignore their stories,” she said.

5. Barghi said she has experienced police brutality, “but nothing like what is happening in Ferguson now or anything like what black and brown folks regularly experience here.”

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

6. “It makes us wonder what our last words would be if the police became violent towards us based on the color of our skin, something most people in this country, including myself, will rarely, if ever, experience.”

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

7. The images have over 600 likes and 10,000 shares on Facebook.

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

8. “I hope people of all races are encouraged to learn more about the pervasive nature of racism and police violence, and to begin acting together in order to end it,” she said.

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

9. Many of the victims’ cases are still pending.

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

10. Currently, there are 11 images in “Last Words.” Barghi plans to make more.

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

11. Protests continue in Ferguson and around the nation.

Shirin Barghi / Via Facebook: shirine.barghi

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