Updated: Jun 18
The United States of America. This is a 'great' country, but has a very dubious history.
Some of you know this, most of you don't. I have never once taken a photography course or class. Instead, most of my studies in college, centered around history and international politics. I've taken countless hours of history courses, ranging from US history to world history focusing on very specific regions. I find it fascinating. I'm not the guy that lives in bliss and naivety thinking the "stars and bars" represent freedom, peace and democracy. It hasn't ever really. There has always been an asterisk on the "land of the free", because it definitely didn't and doesn't apply to everyone who lives here.
The land we now live on, was stolen from the Native Americans. Many hundreds and thousands of tribes were forced out, against their will to new homes or simply exterminated. Countless numbers perished. Then, we built this great country on the backs of slaves, men and women who were stolen from their homes across oceasns, and have been living without true equality since. Fast forward to 2020, and we still haven't come to terms with some of the things that lie deep within the foundations of our nation.
I've been so fortunate to travel the world for work, pleasure and study. I've seen poverty on a scale that's hard to fathom, and wealth that is equally hard to comprehend. I've seen oppression based on gender, socio-economic background, religion, race and everything in-between. I've been places and talked to people who don't even know they are oppressed. What I'm saying with that is I've been around the block, I've seen a lot with my own eyes, and that the United States is in many ways, a great country, BUT, America, we need to do better.
By now I'm sure you've seen the protests that have engulfed the streets of cities small and large across the nation, and world. Mostly peaceful, a few have been violent. I went out one evening in my hometown of Charlotte to watch, listen and understand, but also tell a story the only way I know how; with a camera.
Just because we don't look the same, doesn't mean we aren't the same. It's time to start listening to those we historically haven't listened to. But above all, just be nice to one another.
I'll end this blog with the words President of Centre College, John Roush would say to end his emails to us as students, "Do your best. Be your best. No regrets."