This has probably been one of the most emotional periods in my life. I'm not speaking in terms of emotion that most chalk up to temporary feelings. I mean emotions that stir from deep down inside. Emotions that cause you to lay in bed a night and think about the conversations you've had and the conversations that need t happen. The lives that been lost; the lives that will continue to be lost...such raw and human emotion that causes my heart to ache to think we're at this point in our world. It's a time where we just can't be on the sidelines anymore, we have to be actively engaged. We have to be present to ensure that not only our daily lives our valued and impactful, but those that come after us. One bright side of all of this is the ability to look inward and search for ways that we can make our immediate lives and those around us better. We start by handing a smile to one that we pass during our morning coffee run. We answer our young children's questions in away that allows them to form answers for themselves. We speak with our elders to learn not only the success they obtained, but also the mistakes. It's truly my belief that these micro changes in being human, along with the bigger conversations, can lead to macro changes. I can attest to the fact that my life has been impacted by those smiles, thoughtful words and support that Michelle has shown to me..
Michelle came to me a few weeks ago in search of some portraits that would help her transition into amazing new opportunities that God has in store for her. She is one who has a smile that you can spot from across the room and who's spirit is peaceful and present, yet powerful. It's this quite strength that really made me honored to be able to photograph her. Seeing a strong, bright woman of color stand as tall as she does gives me hope and motivation to be very best...not just because I want to, but because I owe it to them.
As Jesse Williams so eloquently stated...
"...this is also in particular for the black women who have spent their lifetime dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you."
Michelle and women like her make me want to better for them, for all of us. Take a look, share in the joy, strength and power that this young woman possesses.