Sunlight falls on Troy Gaston's tattoo as he attends a virtual Cook County court hearing to file a motion to have his case dismissed at his home in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago on Inauguration Day. Gaston said he got the tattoo when he was 12 after his father was killed by a cellmate in prison.
Troy Gaston fist-bumps his friend's son Deonte Robinson, 14, while visiting their home in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Robinson said he finds Gaston's activism inspiring. "With all the killing out here, the police killing all the people, it can't just take one person like (Gaston) to stop it," Robinson said. "He got to get people to come together and come with him to be able to do that."
Troy Gaston, reflected in a mirror, attends a virtual Cook County court hearing for a motion to have his case dismissed at his home in West Garfield Park. Gaston was arrested while participating in a May protest against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd and was eventually charged with resisting arrest.
Troy Gaston waits for his friend's son to get a haircut at Lines and Angles Hair Salon in Chicago. "At first he used to be talking about injustice and certain things going on," barber Michael Wilburn said about Gaston, who has been his regular customer for the past 10 years. "As time passed by, he started getting more and more involved. It was like a fire was lit."
Troy Gaston and his grandmother Donna Bass-Presley talk with his best friend during a video call at Bass-Presley's home in Englewood. Bass-Presley said she is proud of Gaston for pushing forward for his life despite his time in prison and the difficulties he faced as a young person growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood. "Hey, you didn't let them bring you down," Bass-Presley told him. "You're pushing for education higher and higher. You want to be better than you been ever in life. Because you got to, you want to make yourself proud as well as your family."
Troy Gaston dances spontaneously with his friend Vanessa Harris while visiting her new non-profit dance studio in Woodlawn. The two grew up together in Robert Taylor Homes and have been friends over thirty years. "We had a lot of people that had our backs when we was younger, the older crowd that took over us," Harris said. "And I just want to be the same person that they was to us, because they was amazing to us."
Troy Gaston, left, plays tug-of-war with his dog Designer at his brother David Gaston's home in Englewood. David was paralyzed after he was shot in the chest 15 years ago. "He comes here almost every day to make sure I’m good, take care of me and buy me stuff," David Gaston said.
Troy Gaston chants as he walks between two bicycle walls created by protesters and Chicago police officers during a post-election rally at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. Gaston said he has taken part in or led 67 protests from March to November against police brutality and over-surveillance in Englewood. "The wheels of justice turn slow, but they do turn," Gaston said. "So I'm out there for future generations to have the opportunity to seek dreams which have been violently deferred."