The Woman In The Iconic Black Lives Matter Protest Photo Says She’s Not An Activist

By now, you’ve probably seen the pretty iconic picture of Ieshia Evans, the woman in the Baton Rouge photo, standing before cops in riot gear as they prepare to arrest her and take her away. After being released from jail earlier this week, Evans is now safe and sound back home and gave an interview to Gayle King on CBS’ This Morning. She’s pretty amazing, in case you somehow failed to see that from the photo alone.

When asked by King if she considers herself an activist, Evans was reluctant to claim the title. Yes, she was at the Black Lives Matter protest in Baton Rouge and refused to get off the highway, but she had never protested before in her life. But now that the picture of her standing stoically in front of the cops in a sundress has circulated the web, Evans has become a symbol of Black Lives Matter activism, whether she wants the title or not.

She told King Friday that she wasn’t scared when the officers approached her — which is something you sort of just feel when you look at her. Also, Evans said everything was as still as the photo depicts. There was a lot of “nonverbal communication” going on, and the officers didn’t say anything to her that she could remember.


The 28-year-old registered nurse from New York City said she went down to Louisiana with Young Minds Can, invited by  the New Black Panther Party of Self Defense, because she wanted her 6-year-old son to see her do something. She said that when she told him she had been arrested, her son was confused. Evans told King he said, “‘I thought only bad people go to jail.’ I didn’t have an answer for him.” There’s really not a good way to explain the intricacies of protests and power to a 6-year-old.

Evans posted on Facebook earlier this week that she was happy to be safe and headed home. She wrote, “I just need you people to know. I appreciate the well wishes and love, but this is the work of God. I am a vessel! Glory to the most high! I’m glad I’m alive and safe. And that there were no casualties that I have witnessed first hand.” She also was very protective of her story, asking friends to not give interviews on her behalf and used the social network to look for fellow protestors who were arrested and that she had lost track of.

For a “non-activist,” she sure knew how to handle the situation and make the most of the Baton Rouge protest, inspiring everyone with her chill demeanor and courage. Because even though she said she wasn’t scared, I sure as hell would have been.