How the Other Half Lives

Yesterday, I visited the Jacob Riis exhibition at the Library of Congress entitled “How the Other Half Lives.” The exhibit documented the photo journalist’s work on exposing the impoverished and hidden lives of immigrants in New York in hopes for social reform. While the era that Riis was documenting was clearly different than that of today, the exhibit made me think about my time thus far in DC and my work at the Rural Coalition. The Rural Coalition strives to bring a voice to migrant, immigrant, indigenous and socially disadvantaged farmworkers throughout the country– people who do not have the means or resources to be adequately heard in politics. Although we are not using photo journalism to have their stories and situations shared for awareness, we try to highlight their personal narratives in hopes to instill social change and a more equitable environment. I think that rural poverty is often overlooked in comparison to that in an urban setting, and it is a challenge to bring light and awareness to “how the other half lives” in an environment completely different to that of my own.

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