Documentary Work

Refugee Portrait Project

an independently reported project

The city of Clarkston, not far from Atlanta, Georgia, is home to a phenomenally large population of refugees from around the world.  In the last 25 years, it’s estimated that more than half of the population of about 8,000 people have migrated there from over 50 countries.  With affordable housing, government programs, specialty grocery stores, and international churches, the city has been welcoming refugees officially and unofficially since the 1990s.  

These are a few of those refugees, photographed in or near their homes.

 

 

 

 

Foster Portrait Project

an independently reported project

The Foster Portrait Project began as an effort to personalize and draw attention to a few among the nearly 60,000 foster children in care in the state of California.  As I delved into research and meeting people involved in the system, my project evolved to include a series of photographic and audio portraits of former foster youth in Northern California.

With permission, I invited these amazing young people to be photographed at their favorite spots, places that they find comforting or that give them confidence.  I photographed them, and then they told me about their experiences in foster care, and what led them there.

 

 

 

 

Big Heart in a Refugee Preschool

I spent a few days in Clarkston, Georgia recently photographing a nonprofit called Refugee Family Literacy Program.  Downstairs is a preschool, and upstairs is an English as a Second Language program for the mothers of those preschoolers, all refugees, all non-native-English speakers. After their classes, the mothers and children come back together to engage in early literacy skills.  The mothers and their kids sing songs, play games, and read books together.  

The early years are incredibly influential.  90% of a child’s brain is formed in the first five years of life.  A person with a strong early-childhood education is 17% more likely to graduate high school, and 20% more likely to stay out of jail.  Refugee Family Literacy Program is working to give these families a boost in development that will affect their success in the rest of their lives.

 

 

Black Churches Opening up about Mental Health

Reported with Leila Day for KALW Public Radio in San Francisco.

In many African American communities, mental health issues have a history of being undertreated and underdiagnosed. According to the federal government’s Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population, but less likely to seek treatment.  Alameda County churches have stepped in to help.

 

The Other Mission: a tour of the Mission’s literary past with poet laureate Alejandro Murguía

Reported with Martina Castro for The Litography Project and KALW in San Francisco.

Martina Castro took a walk around the Mission with San Francisco’s poet laureate Alejandro Murguía to hear about what the neighborhood used to be like when he first moved here, back in the 1970s – and what’s changed.

 

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