My Own Witness
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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).”
“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"”
“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.”
“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 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”