Initially, the North Portland HEAL Photovoice project hoped to use photographs to understand the everyday lives of Latino immigrant families in North Portland, however, we ran with the project and used photographs to bring forth our voices (which are either submerged or obscured by institutional practices that claim to speak for us). In short, we wanted to make a political statement about U.S. Latinas as creators of knowledge.
Political statements, however, bring out doubts and forces mujeres have to be brave. The work that you see in these pages, while brave, is also extremely exhausting. We write about the need to speak up in order to enact change but also write about the fear that often mutes the voices of women of color. We fear that our experiential knowledge as Latinas could be swept aside. During the project we also came to realize how the many forms of oppression that operate at every level of society, especially in those the institutions that we participate in, could affect how we participated in this project. Finally, we feared that there would be limits to how much change our photographs could make in our communities.
We look forward to continuing this discussion with you! Please offer comments or questions!
Angie Pamela Mejia, Olivia Quiroz, Yolanda Morales, Ruth Ponce, Graciela Limon Chavez, and Elizabeth Olivera y Torre
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