The Conservancy’s high school interns from Studio in a School’s Bloomberg Arts and Culture Internship Program, Jordin Jackson and Madina Reece, spent the summer working on a photography project surrounding the status of the four freedoms in the 21st century. A Darker America is the culmination of all their hard work. Flip through the gallery below to see what the next generation thinks about freedom. Scroll over the photos to read their thoughts on certain images.
MR: We won’t stop fighting until we’re all equal.
JJ: Being a New Yorker, interacting with homeless people is a part of our daily lives. It has become so commonplace that we can all tune out and ignore people who are asking us to spare something, anything.
MR: School shootings are an issue that mainly affects Jordin’s and my generation. Many older generations don’t understand the fear of wondering, “What if our school is next?”
JJ: Every morning we have to go through metal detectors, and from elementary school through now we’ve had active shooter drills, and this has all become completely normal. If it were to happen to us, would we go down as just another statistic?
MR: As soon as a I came from Guyana I was pushed to follow the rules of a religion I knew nothing about. Because my father’s family are Muslim, I was forced to wear a hijab for reasons I did not understand.
MR: I spent years hiding away in my hijab, not telling my family how I felt.
MR: I lived in fear of being an outcast.
MR: Now I know that, although family plays a major role in shaping who you are, you have to find your own way in the world. For me, freedom is my religion.
JJ: We know some of these topics are quite serious so we added this picture for a little levity, or comic relief. This squirrel posed for us for minutes while he enjoyed his Dorito. A great example of freedom from want.
JJ: As an upcoming senior, thinking about student loan debt is the scariest part of the college process. I have seen the amount of stress it puts on people and I don’t want to go through that in my future.
MR: There are a lot of people who believe women shouldn’t breast feed in public. But why is something natural found to be disturbing when girls can walk around showing off the same thing in a different context and it’s found to be sexy?
JJ: Standing out or being different is totally acceptable. The boy in the picture is an outcast splash of color contrasted with the big bland city. He is still able to sleep peacefully.
JJ: A week or two ago I was on the train and a man got on and began to tell his story.
JJ: Instead of begging for money like other homeless people, this man asked for food.
JJ: As he walked around the train he was handed left over chips and half drunken water bottles.
JJ: All of their trash and leftovers became this man’s dinner for the night.
MR: One of America’s ugly truths is there is not always equality for all. African Americans are still facing a lot of hardship, especially regarding police brutality. The people that are supposed to protect us are going around killing our black kids and families.
MR: After 9/11 a lot of Muslims felt they didn’t belong in America, because people blamed them for the attacks. My own grandmother was afraid to go outside for fear of being attacked. People are sometimes so blinded by fear they don’t realize the negative impact Islamophobia has on Muslim American citizens.
JJ: We could have named this image “The Future”. Instead we went with “Vision of the Future.” That is because our future is uncertain. Hopefully our generation can make progress in order to make this vision become a reality and avoid living in A Darker America.