There are days, when even for those who write for a living, that coming up with the words are just impossible. It's a never ending dance to see if you can come up with the right inflection to convey your thoughts. The right tone through your use of grammar, punctuation and verbiage. You have to really apply yourself to get emotion to come through in written text and when you work in volume....while you are generally more practiced, but you are also under a little more scrutiny for what you say and how you say it. We could add in the challenge too of taking the communications you write to the spoken word but we'll just leave it to the challenges of writing for now.
Now, let's say that you are not a well practiced wordsmith? Let's say that you are just the average working class person who needs to say something...but doesn't really know how to say it. More over, what if you feel what you say won't be heard? What if you feel like it's all been said and that if you try, you're only going to be met with skepticism, or even worse...what you have to say will go in one ear and out the other of the listener? What do you do to get your word out and share what's inside you and how you need and want to do your part for the betterment of something? What if you could communicate with a picture?
That's the goal of the South Heights Photovoice Initiative. Quietly, for months, residents of Muskegon Heights have been working together with the Muskegon Community Health Innovation Region to take photos that represent their lives. The photos were taken, the photographers met in groups to discuss the photos and what they mean to them. How they represent an aspect of their lives that people should understand but getting the words out...presented a challenge, for whatever reason. The residents were given cameras, some photography lessons and then asked to take pictures of what they saw as challenges, positives and other areas and as the discussion built...so did the narrative of each photo. Your first chance to see these photo's and hear the stories is Friday June 7th and Saturday June 8th at the Louis A. McMurray Conference Center on 6th Street in Muskegon Heights.
I met with Kerri VanderHoff who is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Community Development and Marquis Childers who has a photo and story on display in the exhibit. She will tell you the nuts and bolts of the importance of this exhibit that is just a catalyst for more to come and Marquis will share his photo and story and explain to you more about it. Take a listen.
It's kind of short notice, but to see this display and hear what the people have to say is important! Vitally important to understanding all of us together more. Take a few minutes out of your Friday or Saturday and stop in to the MATS office to see this incredible collection and hear the stories. Voices that want and need to be heard. Stay tuned as well for more about this amazing project. Our thanks to Marquis and Kerri for coming out today to get the story started.