I remember the first time I really and truly learned about the Holocaust—my fourth-grade teacher assigned “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry, and I read the book cover-to-cover. When I finished, I asked my mom if we could hide my Jewish friends in my closet if anything like this ever happened again. (I still remember how my heart sank when my mom pointed out that even though we weren’t religious, my Jewish heritage was enough that Hitler would have come after me as well. Still, I pledged I’d hide as many of my friends and classmates as I could until that point.)
When we look back at history, it’s easy for us to say, “Well, if I were there, I’d definitely speak up and fight back,” or, “If it were me, I wouldn’t have just followed orders—I would have said no.” It’s not often we have the chance to put the lessons we learned in school to use, but here we are.
This past weekend I joined a crowd of 10,000-plus in Boston’s Copley Square to speak out against unfair and discriminatory immigration bans. Many in the crowd were Jewish, carrying signs that referenced our own history. As a photographer I feel an obligation to speak out through my photos, particularly through a series I’ve begun of protest portraits. These photos show the faces and tell the stories of individuals as they find their footing and speak out during scary times.
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