The women in this series generously volunteered to be seen, not just for themselves but for the strong people they come from.
On November 8th, 2016, the United States presidential elections result in an eruption of hate crimes, threats to women's rights, and a level of social upheaval not seen in decades that we are still grappling with today.
As a woman and as a person of Lebanese and Ashkenazi descent, I was frightened. I didn't recognize my country; I wanted to keep my head down, hide, and be safe. This impulse continued to grow until one night at a dinner party. Some friends were chatting nearby when I overheard, "At least we're white." With those words, I knew hiding was not a choice. Women of color need to be seen, heard, and not shy away in uncertain times. As I drove home, the radio aired "Walk Tall" by Cannonball Adderley featuring Jesse Jackson; this work surfaced in my mind.
These photographic portraits reference the strength of pose, lighting, and color palette often used in 19th-century presidential portraits. The surnames and prefixes as to what "type" of American these women are have been removed to represent ethnic neutrality. The American flag wrapped around these women is the burial flag my Jewish grandfather was honored with for his service during World War II, fighting to preserve freedom and equality.
WE WALK TALL celebrates and honors a new generation of proud American women of color.