For our exploration of The Notion of Family, several Politics for the People members have chosen a photo from the book to respond to with thoughts, words, a photo or a poem. Today our next installment is from Lowell Ward and Philip Safern. Phil wrote about the book as a whole and Lowell chose one photo to discuss.
As a black man who spent many years on the streets of Boston and in MA prisons and who finally is trying to change his life around, I can certainly identify with this photo of two people who are probably experiencing the oppression and poverty of inner-city life like the rest of us. Despite the daily struggles of living in poverty, unemployment, and living in run down and dangerous neighborhoods, they are determined and proud to be who they are as individuals. Defiant and unwavering, they both appear to be looking in different directions for a similar solution to all pervasive problems and a way out of the misery and pain we as working class people of color experience on a daily basis. No matter what the obstacles and challenges are, we are determined not to surrender our individuality. It’s the only thing the powers that be have so far been unable to take. One of the ways I do this is to work with independent voters in MA and around the country to build a better life for myself and other Americans and hold Democracy’s feet to the fire!
Lowell Ward is a school site liason with Victory Generations and a mentor and tutor for Greenwood Shalom School. He is an activist with the Massachusetts Coalition of Independent Voters.
The Notion Of Family by Ms. Latoya Ruby Frazier
A Reader Responds
First, let me say that this beautifully done work by Ms. Frazier deeply moved me; her beautifully done photographic images conveyed her unique perspective on the subject of family – our human family.
Second, given the current human condition of our nation, it reminds me – Ms. Frazier’s book reminds me – that we are all brothers and sisters living on this very small planet, who only want to live in peace, with respect, with dignity and with human compassion – that we are all family.
Third, I so appreciate Ms. Frazier’s profoundly moving imagery, with an authentic artistic eye, unfiltered, genuine, bold, provocative, depressing at times, yet heroic and completely honest – I rejoice in her unique vision, and share in her own celebration of these unique and powerful images; let her be fruitful with more such breathtaking images – that we are all one family, always…
Yours truly and in solidarity,
Philip Safern is an activist with the New York City Independence Clubs. Phil is a retired postal worker and lives in Far Rockaway with his wife.
In my stark reality, remote in hand
Not in this reality
I turn my back on that dying fire, the fight gone out
Constructed of history and experiences and powerless faces
I don’t want to look but LOOK I must
It shouldn’t be so f’ing hard
I could say hi (or better yet he could)
I won’t settle for a virtual smooth edge
I don’t want another powerless generation
Here you try to survive — but not live
Give me (us) a chance — that’s all anyone needs
In this god-forsaken steel town
Yes, and — in this reality