Philadelphia couple becomes a symbol of hope and love during Black Lives Matter protest

Newlyweds Dr. Kerry Anne Gordon, 35, and Michael Gordon, 42, shared their “first look” on their wedding day with dozens of people demonstrating during a Black Lives Matter protest in Philadelphia.

The couple experienced something that will forever be a part of their lives and a part of history. Photos and video of the Gordons’ first look went viral, turning the newlyweds into a symbol of Black love and hope in the midst of national turmoil triggered by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn.

The pair was set to marry on May 26, 2020. They had rings engraved and had decided on all the details ahead of schedule, down to candies printed with their wedding date. Then the coronavirus outbreak forced them to postpone their wedding plans.

Because of the pandemic, the couple chose to delay their celebration for a year; however, they still wanted to be able to celebrate in the summer of 2020. Then they learned that the Logan, a boutique hotel in Philadelphia, was donating space to couples whose wedding plans had been affected by the pandemic.

The Gordons made plans to hold a “micro” ceremony on June 6 at the Logan. Then, on May 25, the killing of George Floyd plunged the nation into turmoil. Around the world, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against police brutality and racism in a movement that has continued to grow every day since George Floyd’s death at the hands of police.

The hotel informed the Gordons that a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest was going to be held in front of the hotel on their wedding day. While the couple was concerned about their family members’ ability to get to the hotel, they were determined to get married, no matter what.

The Gordons had already planned on holding their first look outside of the hotel. When Kerry Anne walked outside to meet Michael for the first time that day, she was initially alone, waiting for her bouquet and away from protesters. By the time Michael approached her, the demonstrators had marched closer. Eventually, they moved around her and cheered and clapped.

Michael said he heard the sounds of clapping and cheering and wanted to know what was going on.

“I had not laid eyes on her yet that day. And just start hearing applause and cheer. Something’s happening. There’s thousands of people coming down the parkway. I just hear it around the corner. And of course, I’m nosy. I just want to know what the heck is going on, but I couldn’t go because Kerry [Anne] was there and I couldn’t see her yet.” he says.

“As I’m experiencing this and the energy, first thing I could think of is, I need Mike to feel what I’m feeling. The love was so strong that I didn’t want to be selfish about it. And so I shout it out to get Mike,” Kerry Anne says.

Kerry Anne knew that her intimate moment with Michael was about to become far more public, and, while unexpected, that much more special.

“I was excited about our future together, and the fact that we’re going to get married, but then I’m thinking about the crowd, the energies, the people, the movement, our history. Everything became so overwhelming in my soul. It was just like a moment of release,” she explains.

Demonstrators swarmed around them, cheering and clapping as they were photographed.

“Everyone knows what love is. Lots of hope that are in people’s hearts. And I think that’s what people were seeing in that moment when we shared our first looks,” Kerry Anne says.

The Gordons’ reverend, Roxanne Birchfield, who goes by Reverend Roxy, amplified the moment by posting photos of the event on Instagram.

“They are the perfect couple for this to have happened to. ... Knowing their background, and even, like, remembering some of the conversations between them, where I remember Michael was like, ‘I feel like our wedding is spiraling out of control. It’s going to be over the top, like, over the top.’” Birchfield tells Yahoo Life. “And little did they know. Even with COVID, it’s like it still turned out to be the way Kerry Anne probably was like, Yeah, that’s great.”

Reverend Roxy, who has served as a chaplain in the Army Reserve and at several hospitals, was proud of the couple’s unintentional and unique involvement with the movement on their wedding day.

Even though they didn’t plan this, “they were very prepared and excited to be a part of the protest,” she says.

Because of their demanding work schedules and the added emotional and organizational burdens of replanning their wedding during a pandemic, the couple had not yet been able to join a protest.

“I’m just so happy because I wanted to be a part of the protest,” Kerry Anne says.

Reverend Roxy was so moved by the experience that she commissioned a painting replicating one of the photos of the Gordons’ first look from Paintru, a company that turns photos into hand-painted artwork. She is presenting it to the couple as a wedding gift to help them commemorate this empowering moment that happened on their special day.

Painting of a photo of newlyweds Dr. Kerry Anne Gordon and Michael Gordon
Painting of a photo of newlyweds Dr. Kerry Anne Gordon and Michael Gordon

Kerry Anne and Michael are proud of their involvement with the Black Lives Matter movement and hope their special day added an extra layer of meaning to the June 6 Philadelphia protest, sharing a moment in history for years to come.

Newlyweds Dr. Kerry Anne and Michael Gordon
Newlyweds Dr. Kerry Anne and Michael Gordon

“Our love that we had, their love that they had that day, it all just came together,” Michael says.

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