Thursday, May 07, 2009

"Witnesses To Hunger" visits Washington

Some time ago, we came across a photo exhibit called "Witnesses To Hunger" The exhibit featured the photos taken by poor women in Philadelphia and shows their fight to make ends meet.

A Pennsylvania senator has helped to bring the photo exhibit to Capitol Hill, along with the women who took the photos.

From the Philadelphia Enquirer, writer Alfred Lubrano details the women's visit.

The exhibit, which opened Monday and closes tomorrow, was paid for by Chilton's office through donations and was sponsored by Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D., Pa.). "I'm deeply grateful to these women for opening their lives to be documented and exhibited to the people in Washington and beyond," Casey said.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.) joined Casey in praising the women, saying the photos were "especially effective in telling people what is going on."

Emotional and awed, the women were giddy on the bus ride down, listening to Beyoncé and marveling at the turn of events that has made them the object of so much attention.

"I'm floored, shocked, and amazed at all this," said Erica Smalley, 24. "This project is helping me not be negative about my life, though I have to say I still get depressed."

Chilton said "Witnesses" had turned isolated, impoverished women into a growing sisterhood with a camaraderie none had ever experienced.

"Remember, ladies," Chilton told the women as the bus motored toward the Capitol complex, "enjoy yourselves. This is all about you and your power."

Before entering the Senate building's three-story rotunda, the women changed from their street clothes into the donated ensembles. The transformation that the outfits created was quickly evident, as though the dark suits and dresses enhanced self-esteem.

"You all look good," said Ashley Ortiz, 24. In November, she had declared that the world needs "bottom feeders. . . . Who do you get to step on if not me?"

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