I was on Sunnydale Avenue in San Francisco recently at weekly food bank, working on a project of mine about people and community outreach during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. And this beautiful little girl caught my eye because of the bright pink braids she had flowing from her hair.
The girl was with a friend of mine, who is also the girl’s godmother, and she had no problems with me taking a few pictures of the girl and her striking hair.
As I was lifting my camera to my face to begin snapping, my friend told the girl “Hold it up, let him see it.” What she meant was the laminate hanging from the girl’s neck, a family photo featuring the girl and her father right in the center of it. The girl’s father had his arms around her.
I looked a question at my friend, who said to me “Her daddy died yesterday. He got shot.”
Ten minutes later I was carrying a box of food bank vegetables to the girl’s nearby apartment, and I asked my friend what happened. She told me the girl’s father was shot dead nearby when he was trying to score some weed from a man who had a gun and who was just too crazy to be dealing weed at that particular moment in time.
I looked at my friend and asked her “Who dies over weed anymore? It’s fucking weed, it’s legal.”
Neither one of us had an answer. Then she walked into the girl’s apartment, and I put the box of vegetables on the trunk of a car parked in front of it and left.
(Photographed in San Francisco, California in August, 2021. See my other work here and here.)