I thoroughly enjoyed this fella at Ellis Island, both his eagle-eyes on my lens and his genuine love for this great nation of immigrants and the island’s incredible intake of global seafarers from 1892-1954. We have much to learn from history, friends. May we never forget it; may we be made better by it. #americanjourneys . Happy Independence Day! Hope you’re enjoying all things Americana—or at least a tall glass of Coke-Cola. xx . @americanjourneysproject #brexit1776 #eagleeye #punintended @katylongsf
This is my dad at 70. Today is his birthday. . Lord knows why, but I remember the year he was 46, and talking about it at school with friends. It was 1994; I was 9. I don't remember thinking then about the day he'd be 70, but I do remember thinking then that there was no one quite like him. I was so proud to call him mine. . And, you know, a lot has changed since 1994—but still I believe there is no one like him. . Thanks for all the shrimp and grits, daddy—and for the music, and the endless welcome you extend to all. But more than that, thanks for loving me no matter what. Happy, happy 70th. Here's to you! . xoxo
(2/2) Crossing into Mexicali we meet Jando. Jando has been deported three times from the US, having arrived illegally as a teenager and then being arrested for minor crimes. Jando claims he has no interest in returning a fourth time to the US. But he’s an unreliable narrator: he praises Sinaloa crime boss Joaquín Guzmán Loera, and has track marks running up his arms. Five minutes after we finish talking to him, we see him again, with a bloodied nose. It’s a reminder that the border has a dark side: that the cartels who control drug and people smuggling also bring violence and addiction to the streets. . Follow @americanjourneysproject . Words @katylongsf Photos @missjessieparks
(1/2) Our final stop at the US-Mexico border is in Calexico, where everyone speaks Spanish. Calexico, USA is essentially a suburb of much larger Mexicali, Mexico: locals tell us you could move the border five miles north and no one would notice. At the border on a Monday morning, we meet school girls waiting for their friends, and workers hurrying to their offices. Many have green cards and some are even US citizens, but these border commuters live in Mexico - where money goes further — and work and study in the US. . For more follow @americanjourneysproject . Words @katylongsf Photos @missjessieparks
Despite all the headlines about building a wall, there’s already a 15ft fence dividing the US from Mexico. I first saw it snaking across the desert an hour east of San Diego. This is the same wall — a line of rust-red metal stakes — that I had already seen in a thousand news reports, but the vast and empty skies brought new perspective, as did the desert stretching far out to the horizon on either side. We were there with Border Angels — a humanitarian NGO — who drops water for the migrants who pick there way across this scrubland in the dark. Hugo, our guide, told us that coyotes today charge about $7000 for the journey from Tijuana to LA. . #americanjourneys . Words @katylongsf For more follow us @americanjourneysproject
Even when listening to the most provocative threats made by President Trump, any fear non-white American citizens could ever be forcibly deported seems like hysterical fantasy. But it is also historical fact. Between 1929 and 1936, up to 1.2 million Americans — US citizens — were forcibly “repatriated” to their “home” in Mexico. Many did not even speak Spanish. Los Angeles city — with the largest populations of Mexicans outside Mexico — played a leading role, deporting 400,000 Mexicans. Many were forcibly rounded up in raids based upon their appearance, and sent across the border with a total lack of due process. Yet as the pace of deportation speeded up in the 1930s, efforts were underway to make Olvera Street, at the heart of Los Angeles’ Mexican barrio, into a tourist-kitsch calle to fit with white Americans’ romanticized version of Mexican culture — despite the fact that at the same time, Mexicans were being forcibly removed from the very same street. . #americanjourneys . Words by @katylongsf For more follow @americanjourneysproject . #everydaylafrontera #lafrontera #borderwall #defineamerican
Pastor James Trammell of Columbus Street Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California. . @americanjourneysproject
Bakersfield’s surroundings are breathtaking: smoky mountains on the horizon, almond trees blossoming along the arrow-straight highway. This city is proudly conservative, a dot of red in a sea of blue. This is in part because Bakersfield’s legacy is tied more to Oklahoma than California. In the 1930s, a million “Okies” fled the economic destitution of the dustbowl, working as migrant laborers in the surrounding fields, many dependent upon federal housing — like that provided at Sunset camp, made famous by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath. Their descendants stayed and prospered, but many of them — like Pastor James — are reluctant to draw parallels between the Okies’ poverty and the struggle of migrant laborers working in the fields today. . Words by @katylongsf For more, follow @americanjourneysproject as we travel across the country unraveling America’s immigration story.
Today, Chinatown in San Francisco is full of contradictions. On the surface, it’s a tourist destination, all red-and-gold paper lanterns and dim sum touts. But San Francisco’s Chinatown is still the most densely populated urban area west of Manhattan. Fifteen thousand inhabitants live crowded into single-room occupancy hotels, or SROs. Whole families live in single rooms, sharing communal toilets and kitchens. Five in every six households in the district live in “linguistic isolation”, speaking only Chinese. The median household income is just $17 630. It’s easy to be appalled by this poverty in the heart of one of the richest cities in America. But the story is more complicated: for many new Asian immigrants arriving in San Francisco, Chinatown is still their sanctuary because rents are so low and you don’t need to speak English to survive. . Words by @katylongsf . Follow Katy and me @americanjourneysproject as we travel from San Francisco to New York as we aim to unravel America’s immigration story.
Between 1910 and 1940, a million aspiring immigrants landed on Angel Island, at the purpose-built immigration station designed to function as the “Ellis Island of the West”. But Angel Island was not intended to function as a point of entry: it was an interrogation centre, a detention camp. During this period, Asian immigration to the US was almost totally prohibited, so those detained in the centre (the vast majority were Chinese) had to try and persuade officials they had the right to enter. Some were held for years. . History echoes on Angel Island: the same question of who has the right to come to America is being debated with renewed vigor in court and in Congress today. It’s a place that moves you to tears. But there’s hope here too, in the gratitude of these migrants’ children and grandchildren for ‘bestowing the gift of an American journey’. . Words by @katylongsf . Follow us @americanjourneysproject the next two months as we travel from Angel Island to Ellis Island in attempt to answer what it means to be a nation of immigrants.
Over the next two months I’ll be making my way from San Francisco to New York City with two British immigrants and their American toddler documenting the nation's immigration story from past to present. We set out this week beginning at Angel Island, an immigration station located in San Francisco Bay where immigrants who entered the United States from 1910-1940 were detained and interrogated. . Follow us @americanjourneysproject . #overseasdevelopmentinstitute
Sorting through mounds of photographs I made in Iraq (get ready for the deluge, @timothykbuxton !). This one here after dark last July was at a bread shop in Soran City. . I’d like to have some of that hot bread right now!
'Spose it's past due, but here's a few top notch moments with a few top notch people from 2017 (Pt. 2). x
'Spose it's past due, but here's a few top notch moments with a few top notch people from 2017 (Pt. 1). x
I noticed his smile at the door. And after we sat down on cushions inside, I noticed it still. . “Tell him?!” I asked Hersh, "Tell him how I love his smile!” . I mean it, guys, my heart really danced. So Hersh did—and the boy smiled a little extra. His mama seemed to like that. . His daddy said his arms and legs didn’t work quite right, but his head did. And I could see that; I could see that he was a sharp boy. He knew that that day they’d moved out of their hovel of a home in Soran where they’d been for three years since they'd left Syria and her civil war. And he knew it was the first day at Azadi—in a new place, with pristine concrete floors and a little back veranda good for growing plants and watching people drive up the rocky road. He sure had plenty to smile about. And because of him, I did too. . #communitiesofhope
I remember the power had gone out a little later that day than usual. It was well after 4pm here, and it had been out only an hour or so. That’s why the door was open, as it was late July and hot—very hot. . She was so proud to wear that dress—so proud of her country. After this photo she pulled me outside by the hand so that we could take another photo in front of the nice view of the mountains. . I am grateful for these days behind me and how they shape the ones before me. . #bijikurdistan
This baby was waiting outside with what looked to be her grandmother. Her mother and aunt were inside sweeping and dusting their new home at the Love Does Village built for Syrian refugees. . This was move-in day. And they had a small truckload of essentials brought from their makeshift home in Soran, where they’d basically been living since they fled Kobane, Syria after ISIS came.