From left, Tsering Chodon, Kim Palasits, Sarah Juckett, Tsering Dolker and Karen Mayo, all staff at Cathedral Square in Burlington, hold a meeting between the day and night shifts July 12, 2021. Cathedral Square, like many elder care facilities in Vermont, is facing an acute labor shortage and is turning away potential residents who would need high-level care.

Thomas Muske, 38, lived in the South Burlington Holiday Inn from July 2020 until June 24, 2021. He says the supportive environment and the stability of the hotel was instrumental in his recovery from addiction this past year. He’s worried that he will soon lose his housing assistance and become homeless again, even though he’s now working full time in a restaurant.

Melissa Driscoll is the general manager of the Days Inn in Colchester, Vermont, which over the past year has provided shelter to dozens of homeless Vermonters through the state's hotel voucher program. As the state announced an end to the program at the end of June, Driscoll has taken a sort of case-manager role for several guests -- who will likely become homeless again this summer -- trying to get them access to a voucher extension, or an alternate place to go. “I don’t think I could sleep at night if I didn’t try,” she said. 

Roberto Caraballo Lopez trims a customer in his barbershop in Havana, Cuba. Lopez is a third-generation barber, but the first in his family to own the barbershop, due to new laws allowing some privately-owned enterprises on the island.

Lopez’s father, Pablo Caraballo Perez, once worked at a state barbershop but now works side by side with his son in this one-room salon attached to his house. “As every human wants, I wanted to be independent,” Perez said. “The people who have their own businesses make more. Everyone knows this. The government knows this.”

Stacey Borden, shown here with her dog Spirit April 17, 2021, is the founder of New Beginnings Reentry Services, a Roxbury-based nonprofit that aims to help formerly incarcerated women heal from trauma and avoid returning to prison.

Anastasia Bolychevtsev sits for a portrait in Burlington July 22, 2021, in the top she wore to Henry’s Diner earlier that week. A hostess told her she had to cover up in order to be seated. A couple days later, her housemate wore the same top and a pair of cut-off shorts to Henry’s and was seated by a different server without issue. Bolychevtsev believes the discrepancy is related to her being a transgender woman.

Henry Leo is the agent-in-charge for Border Patrol's Harlingen Station in Harlingen, Texas, seen here May 24, 2019. Four days earlier, 16-year-old Carlos Hernandez Vásquez died of the flu in Border Patrol custody 20 miles away at Weslaco Station. “Unfortunately, people have died, but it's not because we’ve withheld any medical treatment or care for them,” he says. “It happens. People die every day in the U.S.”

Raquel Valle-Senties is a poet and playwright based in Laredo, Texas. Her most widely-published poem, "Soy Como Soy, y Que," begins: "I'm a grafted flower that didn't // take, a Mexican without being one, // an American without feeling like one."

Justin Schmitz becomes Mama Naytch before filming a remote drag show August 9, 2020 in Chautauqua, New York. The second annual Chautauqua Drag Show was held via Zoom this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It featured eight queens who submitted prerecorded performances, and audience members tipped via Venmo.

Vicente Prieto Borrego is the archivist for EGREM, or Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales, the Cuban music label founded in 1964. Borrego looks after the catalogue of about 30,000 tracks. The air conditioner breaks down frequently, and Borrego worries that without proper protection from the elements, the recordings will degrade and be lost. “It’s as if an organ, a part of my organism, were in crisis,” Borrego said. “You suffer. You suffer a lot.”

Local entrepreneur Will Raap announced plans June 9, 2021, to turn the the 583-acre Nordic Farms dairy in Charlotte, Vermont, into a new hub for agritourism. “We think we need multiple businesses to be able to maintain the economics of a place this size,” Raap said. “Dairy was able to do that when dairy’s heyday was good. But now we think we need multiple other businesses.”

Catherine Conley and Angel Ramirez Castellano partner in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood in June 2018. Conley was the first American dancer to ever join the Cuban National Ballet. She arrived in Havana in 2017 while on a cultural exchange program from Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago, and then the school asked her to stay for the year. Her and Castellano began dating while both at the school, and they both joined the professional company, alongside Castellano's two brothers -- they're triplets, and all professional dancers. Conley and Castellano have both since moved to the United States to continue their dance careers.

Martha Ruskai transforms Chautauqua Opera Company Studio Artist Brett Bode, bass, into the Commendatore statue during COC's performance of Don Giovanni July 7, 2018 in the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater.

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