My Own Witness
“The shoot and my short visit to the US generated a lot of mixed feelings. After nearly 10 years living in Peru and witnessing the changes in our culture and government from abroad, it was hard to get all of my feelings straight. From afar, our country seems to be in complete disarray, but coming home to the eerily calm normality makes it hard to get a clear grasp on reality. I see all of the terrible things happening to our country, but I can’t feel them. The photo shoot made me feel even more removed from it.”
“The current political climate has forced me to consider how to respond to and engage with the divisive, hateful rhetoric and incessant violence inflicted upon innocent people in this country and elsewhere. An optimist by nature, I am inclined to participate in a positive and meaningful way and to make every effort to avoid negative actions and conversations. I think about the spirit of the quote by Mahatma Ghandi: “You must be the change you want to see in the world” and aspire to move through my life in a manner that embodies this ideal.”
“America’s new meme: aging with grace. But when genes and wear and tear and big pharma and doctors conspire to rattle one’s nerves, just gotta look it in the eye and go on. The phenoms of self-education, self-diagnosis, self-care, and Self are eventually alone in the room. Alas, I am crumbling faster than the Constitution!”
“When I left my country for the U.S. six years ago for my education, I thought I would be leaving behind the rampant killing of others solely based upon the difference of ethnicity. Unfortunately, the nightmare I experienced back home has become powerfully pervasive here in the U.S. I am looking forward to a future where humans are just seen as human and not diminished or exalted by skin color, religion, gender, or the race they are born into or choose to practice.”
“While creating it can be taxing to try and materialize my own goals but when it’s being done collaboratively there is a weird combat of external support and internal pressure. This is worth noting because during the shoot these goals took a back seat to what was really happening. During the shoot I was on the shoreline where these waves of memories and emotions were crashing down. This was unusual for me because although I occasionally get lost in my own mind it’s as if those waves are never as high nor as low as that day. It was such a great feeling! The resulting images are these amazing physical creations of something so deeply internal. Looking at them I am immediately taken through countless experiences and conversations. Without hyperbole, I loved the experience and to possess these images is the icing on the cake.”
“I will study what is difficult until it becomes simple, I will discipline my focus for the upliftment of my people.”
“I was born in Japan and now live in America. One of the things that attracted me to America was the diversity of people and cultures. I think it's a big part of what makes this country great. My hope is for this diversity to continue to inspire us, and those around the world, and show that we are stronger when we're united.”
“Our nation is dying, literally and figuratively. But I shall not mourn, for I/we are the generation of love. As such, our last task will be to salvage the heart-felt and honorable, preserve human-kind(ness). Transform life. Crazy. Is it? Allow me to introduce you to The End, redux.”
“As someone who is multiracial who grew up constantly surrounded by cultures outside her own, it was challenging to know which box I fit in. As a woman, I have had barriers constructed specifically to keep me boxed in. Through “We the People: Portraits of Resistance,” I wanted to challenge the societal and social constructs placed upon me and to enforce the notion of exercising our freedom to liberate ourselves from senseless restrictions.”
“This was an awesome project to be involved in. I felt that Donna ‘tasked me’ with representing my true self. I was challenged. A lot is dependent upon what space you’re in, in confronting, or assessing—or being able to put out there, what one’s true self is. Personally I found this to be difficult at the point in time during which the shoot took place. I was struggling, wobbling, and unsure of the ramifications of where I’d been, and how to integrate that knowledge into where I had landed, and where I’m headed. I was in a new chapter of my life and the dust hadn’t settled. My daughter came with me for the shoot and it was good to have her there. Felt honest and loving. From an egotistical/glamorous point of view, I didn’t like my portrait. But it really did portray where I was at, which for me, was not comfortable. Donna had a great crew who were really into crafting each shot and it made the experience very enlightening and enjoyable. Like reaching a higher ground. And working with Donna, whom I view as a consummate artist, was very rewarding. This project takes portraiture to a new intimate level. And it combines Donna’s work in photography and in personal connections (therapist). I’m really grateful to have been a part of it.”
“When we think about people in photographs together, happiness comes to mind. In both of our cases, we used to think we could never attain that same level of ‘happiness.’ Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage, we still share the lingering fear of "who can we really trust?" when we meet new people. The thought of having to constantly bear a temporary ‘closet’ as a married couple or introducing each other as ‘friend’, just to avoid inciting hatred in the wrong person, is enough to bring us back to thinking that the ‘happiness’ we thought we finally had is still beyond our reach.”
Chad M. & James C.
“We the people are sorrowful and forever scarred. We feel powerless in the face of the machine.”
“I'm a soft-spoken woman; mother of three, educator and self-identified lesbian. An Afro-Cuban, Polish-Jew, Filipino in America. As a visual artist, I choose to explore and connect the intertwining relationships between social justice, equality, human and women's rights, police brutality, femininity, modern day slavery and culture. I use my art as a conduit for bold, fearless, thought-provoking, unapologetic issues. My current body of work is similar to this powerful project. It draws attention to others purposes, journeys and experiences in America. The image conveys a timeless truth; as a woman of color, I feed the nation.”
“Having seen previous images from other shoots, I feared my photo shoot, in the moment, was too lively and upbeat. However, I was really excited to see the final images from my shoot. The staging and the simplicity of the shots were great and I am reminded of my themes which inspired the props. I enjoy looking back at the images and remembering the heartache that inspired them more so than the joy I experienced shooting them.”
“I grew up as a young American idolizing the U.S military and the culture it produced. After I served as a United States Marine infantryman in the Iraq War, I saw first-hand how war is the most dehumanizing and unnatural force that man has created. Children are murdered, homes destroyed, hate spreads-and our so-called leaders will lie about it as long as there’s money to be made, power to be had, and young Americans searching for idols.”
“When my parents came to this country, the only things they brought with them were hope and determination. They lived in a railroad apartment in Harlem. Over time, other aunts and uncles joined them. They created a community of like-minded, hard-working people and supported each other. Slowly, they all sponsored their children...us. It is not normal for people to not care about the welfare of fellow humans. It's just not. I hope and pray everyday, that we ALL take a moment to truly know the stories of our ancestors... those immigrants… who made their way to this land we call home, so that we can make it really great again, by honoring the legacy they left us.”
“Hi, I'm Dee. I'm a young, black queer teen who loves happiness, love and music. And when I see this photo I see what SOME of America doesn't see, and that is what I call Black Joy. But then, America TODAY begs to differ. What I want America to see is that love is the key, and it makes the world go ‘round... You just have to open her eyes.”
“I was born with less than fifty percent of my vision and therefore, my ability to see at all is a lifelong gift. What I have seen since 2016 and am seeing now in my nation’s political leadership is shockingly ugly. Seeing truth warped and discarded, vulgarity elevated and normalized, and narcissism celebrated and rewarded has shaken my desire to see anything. I can only hope that I will see my nation right itself and return to be a vision of what a free and informed people can create as a form of governance.”
“My name is Devyn and I am a Latino trans man living my truth. I am proud of my gender identity and am grateful for all the amazing and supportive people I've met and been able to work with because of my visibility. I choose to be visible for various reasons, one of the main reasons being that I want other trans folks, especially trans youth, who are struggling with their gender identity to know that they are not alone and can be their true selves - even though our current political climate is trying to take away our basic human rights and protections. I want America to see that we are all just human beings and deserve to be treated with the same kindness and respect as our fellow straight cis humans.”
“What I feel is the expression of where we are in the moment we are currently experiencing. Suicide rates are higher than the rates during the Great Depression, Fentanyl overdoses have left 72,000 dead, and we have just inflicted PTSD with a generation of immigrant children whom were caged over the summer. In my portrait I was the hurt and pain that my clients, my family, and friends have experienced. What I felt in that moment was the anguish of the parents who are not able to sing lullabies to their kids. What I hope is that we can use art like yours to start difficult conversations in order to begin to heal.”
“The resulting image reminds me of how a lot of young girls and boys go through the same identity crisis growing up. I’m not seen as an American because of my skin tone and I’m not a Mexican in my family’s homeland because I was not born there. I’m proud to be Mexican American, I however long for the day everyone realizes there’s only one race with many beliefs.”
“I am 93 years old. My body is falling apart but my mind is strong. I am the last of my personal generation to be alive. My husband and brother both served in WW2. My husband helped to liberate a concentration camp. We believed war would be over at the time and the sacrifices we made would allow for a future better world. Where is this better world, now?”
“I came to the shoot thinking of Emma Lazarus’ words welcoming immigrants to this country, which was certainly the sense I always had as a young girl, born elsewhere, but growing up here in New Jersey. Yet being ‘American’ never exactly felt like a true identity, until I began spending time outside the US. Some of the photos represent a sorrow about the state of our nation at this time in history, having been shattered by the curve ball from hell that was the 2016 election.”
“See, growing up I always learned in school that the United States of America is considered "the Land of the Free" and "the Home of the Brave," but that’s not what I see. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and almost everyone I know from two different generations has been incarcerated. According to the 13th Amendment, slavery only exists when convicted of a crime. Lots of people are wrongfully incarcerated every day. Last time I checked, slavery was "abolished.” Sure doesn't seem like it. I surely don’t consider myself a slave. Read between the lines and open your mind.”
“Since I was a little boy, I have identified myself as a creative artist, and I have been lucky enough to be able to work as such for all my adult life, taking me onto pueblos and into embassies, schools, museums, and prisons, from inner city neighborhoods to posh dinner parties. Artists have a strange position in America. They are both insiders and outsiders. We are the shamans of America, casting our spells, creating magic images and rituals, to transform and hypnotize, the later being the more profitable. Corporatization and branding offer celebrity without transformation. If our art can entertain and excite, we needn’t transform ourselves or our audience. Yet, what is art but a window into a deeper reality, a moment of epiphany, when a window opens and we are offered a gift of recognition, a living communal breath. I work as a storyteller. Mostly, I tell the old traditional stories; and, if I do a good job, those old stories become new, and the journey at the heart of the story becomes one with our own life’s journey. We awaken to our true selves, our better selves. I have come to realize that corporations and politicians also know that power, but use it to confuse and seduce. When I tell a story, the audience begins to breathe as one. Time seems to stand still, and performer and listener are no longer focused on themselves, but together have entered the story. The great stories, the stories that heal, unite, and restore our sense of community, call us to go forth as one, more open to each other. They show that change is hard, but transformation reveals our true and better selves. The fake stories leave us isolated in greed, in fear, and in loathing. They seem to offer power, but, in truth, entrap and consume, just like the monsters, swamps, and wild woods of folklore. I wonder which story foretells America’s future?”
"I am a mixed race, queer, college graduate who has suffered with 'Mental Illness' since I was about 12 years old. Along with that comes Shame and Confusion--which I tried to portray in my photo. In the state we are currently in as Americans, where healthcare is no longer affordable to all, suicide rates are at an all time high. When I turned 26, I was taken off my mom's insurance and unfortunately do not qualify for Medicaid, my full time job doesn't offer health insurance, and unfortunately even with two jobs cannot afford health coverage on my own. So as most Americans, I deal with my mental illness and suicide attempt in 2016 by accepting my 'diagnosis' and sweeping it under the rug in order to avoid stigma. It's something I must hide-- cause there's nothing I can do about it if I cant afford therapy or medication. My only hope is that the conversation and awareness continues."
“Embracing diverse cultures has been embedded in my upbringing. Traveling the world afforded me an intimate appreciation of humankind. I am appalled by discriminatory uses of power, policies and practices. My focused attention and action will continue to combat such interpersonal contempt.”
“This shoot came after a long week, a long month, a long year of feeling silenced and watching women around me be silenced by both larger systems and individuals around us. To have the shoot grow from my mouth being bound/silenced, to standing tall and strong was an outlet that I needed deeply, and one that made me feel like I was making art in a positive and crucial way. I still feel emotional looking at the pictures, and am brought back to the anger and sadness I was feeling that week due to my own story and women’s stories around me not being heard. But I also am able to look at them and feel empowered by myself. There is a strength shown in these photos that is important to remind myself I have.”
“I wasn’t too excited to be holding props that represented a country that has marginalized me twice: first as a gay man, and second as a man of color. The patriotic props reminded me of how much of a ‘joke’ America has become.”
“Why... How could I... pledge allegiance to such a diabolical structure - proven since its inception - to dishonor the blood that flows through my very human veins. A system that fails to so much as nod at my divinely ordained beating heart. Here I stand, bearing witness to my own crucifixion or flight.
* "tasdaq for all"
* "not my banner"
* "divided we fall...divided, we're falling...divided; we've fallen"
* "disclaimer: my humanity was excluded during the making of this flag"”
“Enveloped in truth, love will rise.”
Jade J. & Danielle S.
“Growing up black in the USA, African Americans have fought in every war, only to come home second-class. The military was segregated in the first and second World Wars. During WWII, Vets would tell us how German POWs could go to the base movies, go to the base PX and attend shows. Blacks could not attend a lot of these activities. During my time, we were in Vietnam, fighting for their freedom. Yet, during this time, blacks could not vote in a number of states. Black people in this country were being lynched, burned out, beaten and more - just for trying to vote. Often, police and state troopers beat these people. I worked for IBM; I was hired under the EEOC Program, along with many other black men and women. Many of us had college degrees. IBM, along with other companies, had to comply with the federal government employment program.”
“The chasm between rhetoric and reality in this country often leaves me speechless. I stopped being a soldier decades ago and now feel we’re all caught up in an endless war on the world. I write poetry and essays/blogs/books to try to reconnect with vital things, starting with the earth that hosts us, the web of life, wildlife, trees, flowers, family, friendships, communities.”
“I really enjoyed getting involved with this project. It was nice to showcase being a Marine and female, there’s only so much of us and to be able to show that we can be just as hard and strong as our male counterparts meant a lot to me. I want people to know that they can do whatever they set their minds too.”
“I am a social worker, feminist, and artist. Since 2016, I have turned to my art as a means to reduce my anxieties in these anxious times. As a sculptor, I am drawn to rust and decay. However, we are now witnessing the decay of democracy. This decay affects us all from those close to me, my clients, those battered by our administration, to the entire world. These are sad times when those in power have focused on pitting people against each other, instilling fear and hate. They hold rallies like those in Germany in the 30s and 40s and chant “make America great again.” But all they have done is divide this country further by race, religion, ethnicity, and economics. I am left loving my neighbor but not this country and screaming in a loud voice ‘a people united will never be defeated.’”
“For me the project spoke to what it meant to be of mixed ethnicity in America. From the moment I arrived in this country at 5 years old I was teased relentlessly for not knowing English and for having a foreign name. Growing up I was always connected to being Nicaraguan, being Japanese, being Black, connected to these cultures equally but often I was put in a box. I couldn’t be all of these I had to choose or the choice would be made for me. Most of the time I was just a “Spanish” kid or a “Black” kid, I suppose because my physical traits weren’t overwhelmingly Asian. I’ve grown up dealing with racial stereotyping and racial slurs, I’ve grown up living the Black experience while simultaneously living the Brown experience all while feeling equally Asian. I feel that society has tried to make me choose a side, a culture and even if I were to do so I would never be accepted because I wasn’t Hispanic enough or black enough or Asian enough. What I have learned though is I am enough, I am enough of everything I am to be accepted, my people love me and as much as society wants me to choose I will never. I will continue to represent every part of me and I will continue to break out of every box I am put in until they see me for who I am!”
“I have lived in this country almost my entire life. I’m proud to be an immigrant but America is no longer proud to house them. As the son of two immigrants that came to the US it’s appalling to listen to such immigrant hating rhetoric. The hopes and dreams of immigrants now are nearly dead. Detaching myself from the garbage that society regurgitates on a daily basis helps bring me balance. I try to bring myself to a Zen place where the dark wings of hatred don’t cast a shadow.”
“I thought a great deal about this project before arriving at Donna’s studio. Many images came to mind, which were expressive of my anger and frustration with the current political climate in our country. Images of the Statue of Liberty carrying her own head her arms was one. Images of a child conducting an orchestra of instruments played by monsters was another. Once I saw the staging area I became more focused upon my own image at which point another sort of monster born of some serious self-consciousness reared its head. I tried to relate to the props but the translation of the mind driven imagery became difficult when sorting through the choices at hand. The imposed seriousness expressed in my face was in part, my reaction to sensing that the props I was trying to resonate with were not true to the danger, dread, or hopelessness which we are negotiating our way through in the present era of our country and of the world. The ambiguity and subtly disturbing nature that I see in the actual photos, allowed me to feel more connected to this effort to embody and convey that which is both universally human and beyond words.”
“The sad clown is a staple of early Americana photography. For me, it symbolizes the balance between comedy and tragedy – and the old idiom ‘laugh to keep from crying.’ Trump is a sad clown. And so are we.”
“I am a Caribbean gal, who has been residing here in the United States for 27 years. Recently, in this country I have seen a stark increase in acts of hate, fuelled by racism, discrimination and bigotry. I struggle to address the barrage of questions as they relate to such acts, posed by my 8 year old, as I worry about her future. In the hope of preserving her innocence and teaching TOLERANCE, I answer her questions and address these issues by highlighting the “positive,” in people who love us regardless of our race, ethnicity, religion or sexual preference. Focus on those who appreciate our kindness, our thoughtfulness, respect our differences and celebrate our similarities!”
"Modeling for Donna Bassin's Here I Am: Portraits of Resistance was a wonderful experience. I chose my own props, my clothes, even how to display my politics. But it was her artistic vision that brought out my true person, identities I've downplayed--or even hidden--at times over the years: I'm a working class anti-war veteran from a coal mining community in Western Pennsylvania. Struggles, complexities, re-awakenings, natural beauty--I see these things in the photos she's captured, both in my own and others'."
“It was fun creating a visual expression of my feelings for America. I was tentative at first, not wanting to offend with my prop and image choices, but as I stood (and sat) in front of the camera, my inner child took over and left self-doubt by the wayside. Though my feelings towards America are complex and often marked with frustration and disappointment, creating the images was surprisingly empowering.”
“America is my home, not by choice but by force, yet I have embraced it. I am currently conflicted about being an American. Should I choose to adopt another culture at this late stage? The shoot brought my ambiguity to the surface.”
“I teach history in the inner city. I call it American Mythology. If the goal of history is nation-building, we are on a shaky foundation.”
“Blah blah blah… I’m numb to it…”
“My father was an immigrant who fought for the US in Europe in WWII. I used to be proud of being the child of an American soldier. The Vietnam War made me question everything. Now so much of what America has come to stand for is excess wealth, greed, large scale everything and progressively standing against human and civil rights. In this photo I am offering the prayer beads for Peace On Earth for all peoples young and old, brown and white, rich or poor, gay or straight that the US become a land that truly cherishes human and civil rights above all else.”
“My mother created the sculpture I chose to hold in this photograph, it was her expressive interpretation of my brother’s hands from memory. He died of AIDS at 26 years old in 1982. Friends, family, society, our “government” did not want to provide assistance or embrace his struggle or the struggle of others with AIDS. My family created and fixed things, played music, wrote words of meaning, and danced. This cast bronze sculpture speaks of pain, hatred, inhumanity, absence, and loss. I have spent 36 years trying to understand and embrace that struggle through my art.”
Of Viking Descent
Of African descent
Of Russian descent
Of German descent
Of Cuban descent
Of Irish descent
I Am Everything and Nothing at once. A native. An immigrant. By land and sea. An American.”
“I am a child of the 60's, now in my 70's. I rage against the machine with love and laughter. Spending most of my days with children, I've taught them how to raise
a fist and shout Power to the People! They keep my anger in check as we teach each other how to express ourselves, how to share, how to color the entire page, and
how to go out the front door as if you are being let out into one big playground where almost anything goes! My grandchildren keep me young and old at the same time.
Teach peace. Teach love. Teach kindness. It's really very simple."
“To smile - while characteristically a significant aspect of my persona - does not belie my deep concerns. Concerns for societal injustices and environmental disregard are just a few among many. But, my smiling reflects - even in the midst of sorrowful circumstances - the determination of my people in particular - and most people in general - to persevere and not succumb to the darkness of inhumanity. In the words of a sage, “This too shall pass”.”
“My message for others is that I won’t be erased. I am a gay man living as a man, woman, or whatever I feel like living as; if I feel like a man, then I’m a man – if I feel like a woman, then I’m a woman.”
“When my mother was on her death bed, I said, “Mom, even though this brain cancer is hurting you, your principals have always remained the same. You’ve always fought for peace and justice. I bet if there were a demonstration here in Buffalo today, you would be there.” She asked, “Is there one?” “No, I replied, “but we could make one.” My sister and I made signs and marched, chanted, and sang in the tiny space next to our mom’s hospice bed. Jan, whose activist wife also died of cancer, has also been involved for decades in the peace, justice, and environmental movements. Now, we are so lucky to be partners and carry on the struggles together.”
Paula R. & Jan B.
“I carried this sign, NO MORE BLOOD FOR OIL, at our local peace vigil week after week after week. I covered the sign with clear tape to protect it from rain and snow. Four years ago, we started a group to protest the “bomb” trains that carry volatile Bakken crude oil through our communities, putting us at great risk. In 2013, a train carrying Bakken crude exploded like a bomb in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, tragically killing 47 people. I realized that I could use that same sign, NO MORE BLOOD FOR OIL, at anti-war and environmental demonstrations – it’s all about oil and other fossil fuels.”
“I am holding in my skirt a bounty of dolls representing children deprived of childhood and adults deprived of hope. All gathered in my skirt seeking safety. I want to protect them from a world that preys on their vulnerability. But they are content to be the cushion between me and the threat to humanity I feel from this precarious time in which we now live.”
“I am a proud Indian American, not a Native American.
Born in India, living in New York City when I was six months old.
I have two "homes", and yet I'm labeled an immigrant and foreigner in both.
My Labrador Retriever mix was born in America, she can be president before me.”
“My military deployments and hospitalizations were lived through and then consigned as past life experiences enabling me to distance from the full implications of the trauma. These emotions remained unexplored until, a few years ago, I participated in a five day meditative retreat which included a memoir component. The act of writing about my experiences has slowly had a profound and liberating effect on me and my relationships with others. Choosing these implements (barbed wire, bullet, flag, and grenade) to symbolize the inner turmoil allowed me to give voice to the deeper feelings of my military experiences.”
“My name is Ron EA Powell; my Jamaican parents gave me those initials as a symbol of you reap what you sow. I feel that I express myself and my emotions through my art. Reflecting on the current events and ongoing tensions in our world today, I believe we need to put aside our ego and admit that something is wrong. It may be an issue so simplistic to the core, yet we need to address it together. My self-portrait oil painting entitled, ‘torn’ reflects the theme and emotions I feel…resistance.”
“Being a working mother and raising a child is two-fold. On one hand, I want to provide her with the best possible life and give her everything I never had. On the other, my demanding schedule makes me sometimes feel like I am missing her growing up. Either way, I do what I can and I know at the end of the day that I am providing a powerful example for my little girl of a hard-working, strong woman in America.”
Sara G. (Brie G.)
“People are struggling to know how to talk to each other… or more importantly listen. Fear and emotions are running so high that we are just waiting for the other person to stop speaking to then insert our plea of beliefs, criticisms, or experiences. I am not sure what to do about the divisions that seem to have become more inflamed within us the last few years. My daily life is in the care taking of others… their innocence heals my heart and gives me hope… and their innocence also worries me. I want to protect them. There are people I love dearly who’s beliefs clash deeply with mine regarding our current state of the union. Heated conversations at the dinner table, are one not as troubling these days as my worry for the daily safety of people in children caught in the middle of this very divided American culture.”
“Hi, I am Shino. I moved to America from the other side of world decades ago. I received so much opportunity and love. But at the same time, I see many, many people who do not have the same experience and get treated badly instead. I feel lost in-between these worlds. Now, as a resident of America, I want to continue to spread happiness, kindness and compassion in my daily life.”
“My name is Shontel and I love being black. I love everything about being black: the music, our hair and our culture just to name a few. However, it seems like lately America doesn’t seem to love black people as much. When we when we try to say our BLACK lives matter—-they tell us ALL lives matter. Which is hurtful because of course all lives matter, but black lives are the one being lost everyday at the hands of police brutality. I want America to see to black lives are important and to change it to all lives is silencing our voice.”
“It’s a party and 99% are uninvited. Our American dreams are out of sync with a red white and blue reality we live everyday – here I am hanging onto them by a thread.”
“Living in America has been a bittersweet experience for me. I hate the lack of opportunities and the lack of freedom here in the U.S. Being a black American Muslim I have experienced many unfair and unjust things- being denied jobs because of my race and religion and being profiled by the police. Every day I fight that struggle, constantly trying to prove to the world and society that I am not the “stereotype”. Although it is a tiring battle I refuse to give up the fight. My ancestors before me didn’t and neither will I.”
“When I thought of Rosie the Riveter, I felt proud of how capable and strong we Rosies were. I loved the image of a strong woman, with their headbands keeping the hair out of their eyes, contributing to the defeat of fascism by making large armaments necessary to that war effort. But somehow the old feeling of respect and pride as a woman, didn’t seem to fit Rosie anymore. Now, as a model for Rosie, I wanted her and us to do something different. I wanted us to stop making armaments, stop making wars all the way around the world and here in the USA. I wanted us to stop believing what corporate politicians, the military leaders, and all the advertising that promotes their ideology tell us about the terrible danger we will be in without a war on the world. Now the task for Rosies is to stop the making and use of armaments, to stop wars that profit only the tiny 1% at the cost of the 99% around the world. Rosies must refuse making and dropping bombs on innocent victims, especially women and children and our earth.”
“We can’t control what events happen to us, but we can control how we chose to meet them. I was diagnosed with Scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease, more than 20 years ago and given 5 years to live. Instead of letting the darkness of that diagnosis and its possible outcome rule me, I chose to focus on the present moment. There are times that have been tough and times I did not think I would see tomorrow. But over all my years of dealing with illness, the most important thing I've learned is that you can't let a possible future steal your life, your present moment. Don’t let the darkness paralyze you, put one foot in front of the other and you will find the light. You can do it.”
“I am the daughter of Filipino immigrants: my father emigrated in 1928 and waited 22 years for a Filipina- my mom - to arrive in America to marry. Having experienced blatant and nuanced racism, my parents chose not to teach us Tagalog though we learned to celebrate our history and culture through dance, food, music and history. As the first non-white family moving into an inner city blue collar working class neighborhood in Chicago, life was difficult. Now, I am a healer, end of life advocate and a lesbian of color married to a Jewish woman. Together we navigate different world experiences sharing different cultures, religions, skin colors. Though today America is showing many of its more fractured sides, I still maintain that in its messiness, it is still the best place for me (us).”
“I feel worn down by the one step forward, two steps back of American political thinking. I thought so many of these bridges were crossed fifty years ago, and that there would be no going back. But it turns out that almost half of the country never crossed the bridges in the first place. That said, there has been a lot of progress made by those who are not afraid of change, and for them, the future is bright.”
“Hi, my name is Tianjin, and I am a warrior living every day trying to survive in this world. My Jamaican heritage is my pride and life and I strive to be the best in what I can be. Hopefully, these photos represent that fire that you see before you.”
“I was born and raised in what most would call a ghetto, surrounded with minorities — or how I like to think — my people. From kindergarten to high school, I went to school where most would call a rich, white town. I was an outsider simply because I looked different from the other kids. The worst part about racism isn’t the fact that I got called the N word for the first time in Social Studies when I was just in the 3rd grade. That was to be expected. The worst part about racism is the fact that even in the streets I was raised in, I was still an outsider, still a minority to them. I am Afro-Latino born, but to most light skinned Spanish people, I was just another black kid, and to the Blacks, I was just some Indian looking outsider. So here I sit — in the middle — not accepted by anyone.”
"My name is Vee. I am a young Hispanic woman living in a bittersweet place I call America. It’s always hard finding things that I know that are best for me without having to face judgment. But I know that to be a strong, independent woman in America, I have to face certain things and sacrifice a lot to gain very little. There is no other place like America."
“I think I've been mostly ambivalent about any picture taken of me. I'm not a dress-up, costumed kind of guy. Although proud to have worn the uniform of the United States Marine Corps, I rarely uniform items other than boots. Always happy to participate in an art project.”
“Knowing that I'm not one of those lucky humans whom the camera seems to 'like, I wanted to confront my own self-conscious discomfort, by preparing, if necessary, to disrobe completely -- to remove anything that could serve as a disguise. I also wanted to include pieces my blown glass -- like me, not photogenic, but as priceless as if they were my own children. I was drawn to the black mesh, because, as in a favorite fairy tale, it both covers and reveals -- I could become less a person, and more like a three-dimensional graph of a person. By the way, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I'd like to come back as a geometric theorem.”
“I try to live my life in a way that is creative, helpful, and in the spirit of my Christian faith. That faith tells me that I should be a good steward to the earth, love my neighbor (which includes everyone), welcome the stranger, and to standup for those who are less fortunate than I am. I grow fearful of what we may become when I see this religion promoted by groups of people who support political agendas that damage our environment, persecute those they disapprove of, vilify foreigners, and endeavor to remove security for the sick and elderly, in the name of God.”