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I AM EQUAL :: PHOTOSTORY

My PhotoStory: Casey A.

CATEGORY: Biggotry, Body Issues, Unemployment
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I took a photo and joined this project for social equality.

Why is it that the businessmen and women of the world get to decide what constitutes “professional?” I hate that people look down on me cause I have piercing and tattoos, and because of it I have to work harder than any of them just to get ahead.

Doesn’t the fact that I work hard, and get the job done mean I’m just as good as them?  That I deserve every bit of respect they give to the “normal”person? I think so.

In the end I’ll always give them the benefit of the doubt and let their work/action speak for themselves. That’s why I am equal.

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My PhotoStory: Wendy W.

CATEGORY: Gay Adoption, Immigration Rights, LGBT Rights
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In 1996 our family accepted an exchange student from a former Soviet Bloc country. Weeks before he was to head back home to the Soviet Union, he came out as gay.

I’d never met anyone openly gay and neither had he. He was afraid to return home because his country had a mandatory military enlistment requirement, and his parents, when he had come out to them at 13, wanted to place him in a mental hospital for shock therapy. He promised them he would change himself and pretended to be straight while learning English so he would be able to be selected for the exchange program.

Once he got to the U.S., he was placed with a family that really hadn’t wanted an exchange student so they didn’t give him much in the way of support or culture. He’d been depressed because he hadn’t met anyone else who was gay here and his time was running out. He was moved in with our family for the last two months of his exchange after his original host parents filed for divorce.

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My PhotoStory: Jeanmarie S.

CATEGORY: Civil Rights, Human Rights, Poverty, Universal Love, World Peace
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We’re all one family.

As cliche as that is, I feel it down to my bones. When I approach people as strangers, I become a stranger. When I approach them as friends, I’m a friend and I’m surrounded by friends.

I have, in my middle age, discovered that I really can appreciate everyone. I mean, really. We’re all flawed, we’re all human, but we’re also awfully interesting. We’re all related. And we all deserve the very basics. Healthy food, clean water, shelter, clothing, heating in the winter, cooling in the heat of the summer and health care. This is why I am a peace activist.

“Peace begins with respect,” said wise and wonderful Quaker, Patsy Gehr, whom I met some years ago.

When we respect each other and recognize that we each deserve the very basics, at least, and that reference to the “haves” and the “have nots” should not include that which is necessary to survive, we can begin to relate to each other as what we are – part of the same, beautiful family. And once we get to thinking about it, we realize that war, militarism, and all of the “power over” structures built into global society today are detrimental to our health and well being. So, we adjust our attitude and the world becomes a whole lot friendlier place and there’s no one we don’t want to comfort and protect.

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My PhotoStory: Katie S.

CATEGORY: Bullying, LGBT Rights, Pansexuality, Religious Freedom, Sexual Abuse
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I first heard about I AM EQUAL from my little sister, but decided to join in for my own reasons. For my friends who have to hide who they are so their families don’t literally kill them, for the friends I’ve yet to meet who are proud of who they are, and to show that everyone on this planet is equal, no matter your creed.

I am 21 years old, and I will stand firm in my belief until the day that I die.

I’ve been teased for being different by my peers, assaulted by the general media with the standard of how women should act and look, called a liar and a fake and made to feel like crap for being who I am. I’m am a tall, pansexual fembot; a survivor; a supreme nerd; an open mind; an equal soul.

When I was in elementary school, I was teased for being tall by all the boys, so I would bully them right back. When I was in middle school, I was teased and called “stupid white girl” and shunned when I tried to fit in. In high school, I was lucky enough to go to one of the most accepting schools in this city, but the people of the Westboro Baptist Church sent a memo to our school calling us fags, sinners, abominations. They protested outside my school while we were forbidden to say anything in return, and all the while I couldn’t understand it. We’re all human beings. We’re all made of the same meat, the same blood running through our veins. Why should anyone be treated as different?

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My PhotoStory: Tiffany H.

CATEGORY: Education, LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality, Poverty, Unemployment
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For the next 39 business days, I am still a teacher of at-risk youth.

I am a club advisor who had a club event to attend on the day of the I AM EQUAL photo shoot. I debated whether to participate, but when a student in my district was caught with a gun at school on the day before the photo shoot, I decided that yes, I needed to attend; To stand up for the lives that could have been lost but were not; To stand up for the children who will struggle for the rest of their lives to close the gap between themselves and those who were born into more…”comfortable” families.

I am also a single lesbian standing up for equal marriage rights, the right to be who I am, and the right to be single.

As I write this, I am also joining the ranks of the unemployed. So, the third and final statement of equality that I would like to make is for my fellow unemployed teachers, and all who have suffered because of the ignorance of those who just don’t understand what it is that we do.

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TBA CHARLESTON, WV
TBA ATLANTA, GA
TBA RICHMOND, VA
I live with my parents and I’m 29 years old. Salt lake city is my hometown and I have three pugs.

I have downs syndrome. Sometimes people been teasing me cause I look different. I went to many schools. I was vulnerable and it would make people want to tease me when I was in school. One time a boy spitted on me on my glasses. Another time a girl pinched me hard on the shoulder and it hurt. And other students would call me slow. And when people do these things it kind of makes me a little sad and hurt.

I love my family and they are precious to me. I like to go to the movies with my brothers and listen to my favorite singer Taylor Hicks. I’m happy...  » READ MORE «