Singing an Expression of Hope with Stephanie Keith

It’s just not summer until the ocean's royalty dances down Surf Avenue in Brooklyn. Coney Island has always been a refuge for self expression in the most colorful and flamboyant of ways, and every summer The Mermaid Parade explodes at the beginning of the season. Gawkers line up block after block to celebrate the ocean and a cast of characters who just don’t give a damn. Since this is an event singular to New York City, not everyone gets to make the trip so photographer Stephanie Keith packed her camera to act as an envoy for everyone who had to miss it. This year the parade took on a particularly important role.

Since the beginning of the Mermaid Parade 33 years ago it’s included a powerful representation of the drag and LGBT communities. With the recent shooting in Orlando last week, the Parade this time was a powerful display of strength and togetherness. Stephanie’s photos find marchers with signs like “We are Orlando” and “Mermaids for Orlando.” This parade and Stephanie’s images show community members leaning against one another at a time that where they need each other more than ever. It’s a reminder that these voices will not be silenced, and these faces will not hide. Luckily Stephanie was there to spread that word and amplify their message around the world. It’s an incredible reminder to all of us that our voices are valuable and tragedy should never get in the way of hope.

View more of Stephanie’s work on Gallery Stock.