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.”

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.”

Boston City Council President Kim Janey, and her granddaughter Rosie, gathered with Roxbury residents Oct. 24, 2020 to protest the city's plan to widen Melnea Cass Boulevard and cut down more than 100 mature trees. The city's plan includes replanting more than 200 saplings, but residents worry this won't do enough to mitigate the loss, and argue they shouldn't have to choose between improving transportation and preserving the tree canopy.

“Trees, and a tree canopy, are very important in terms of our public health," Janey said. "We see what COVID-19 has exposed in terms of the inequities that were already existing, and now the disparities are even wider. So this fight to save the trees is in that context. It’s in the context of the Movement for Black Lives, in the context of a public health crisis that we have not seen in our lifetime, in our generation. Prior to COVID, we already had health disparities, and so to remove these trees is a racial justice issue.”

Pastor Becky Baxter Ballou leads the Eagle Pass United Methodist Church in Eagle Pass, Texas, a city of about 26,000 that sits on the bank of the Rio Grande. Her congregation created Mission Border Hope, which waits at Customs and Border Patrol drop-off points to provide food, water, clothing and translation assistance to immigrants as soon as they are released from detention. She pauses for a portrait here during donation collection at the church. She says her congregation’s outreach used to focus on repairing local homes, especially after floods. But those projects have mostly been put aside for now to focus on immigrant aid. “It is a crisis for [immigrants]. It’s a crisis for the people living here in the community,” she says. “We have deep pockets of poverty. Everyone is giving up something and that’s OK.”

Thaty Oliveira first moved to the U.S. from Brazil in 2003, when she became an au pair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since then, she has earned two master's degrees, become a professional nanny and founded her own childcare education business. In 2012, Ms. Oliveira joined in organizing and advocating for domestic workers at Matahari Women Workers' Center in Boston, which also advocates increased pay for au pairs. "I don't want the (au pair) program to end," she says. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the program. But there's a lot of restructuring needed." On December 2, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that au pairs should be covered by state labor laws and the Massachusetts Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which entitles them to higher wages and overtime pay. Shot for The Christian Science Monitor.


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."

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.

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.”

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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