Western Kentucky University
$1,500 Scholarship and Hearst Medallion
STORY: In an time where large cities are developing and growing as frequently as ever, one thing hasn't changed in the San Francisco Bay Area; peoples appreciation for family, diversity and love. For my essay I focused on these three themes to help show the positive similarities between multiple families throughout San Francisco.
I traveled and documented families in various districts and neighborhoods throughout San Francisco in search for an explanation for the immense diversity in the bay area. I explored the complex subcultures within the area to help understand the families I documented and their situations. I used my research and explorations to show on how strikingly similar family relationships are, regardless of ones culture, diversity or background.
CAPTION: Billy Dunn, 31, hugs his cousin Ever Dunn, 12, as other members of their family prepare to eat during their memorial day cookout on May 29, 2017. "It's all about family no matter what culture we are mixed with," said Dunn. Dunn's mother was adopted as a child, and today his family is mixed with an array of ethnicities, including Salvadorians, Italians, Mexicans, and more.
Niklas Stanisschevski, 22, lays with Sarah Chow, 18, at Mission Dolores Park on May 29, 2017. Stanisschevski, a native of Germany, recently moved to San Francisco to pursue an education. Stanisschevski met Chow two months ago, and the two have since developed a close bond. "He is really special," said Chow. "
Billy Dunn, 31, and Javi Pinedo, 23, both agreed that growing up in San Francisco was one of the best things that happened to them. "My childhood wasn't nearly as bad as far as me growing up and coming out," said Dunn. "Everyone was just so open and caring here, including my family." Dunn met Pinedo five years ago and they just recently got engaged.
Mason Paopao, 6, plays with his toy gun while his father, Moana Paopao, 38, relaxes outside of their apartment in Hunters Point. Moana and his family immigrated to the United Stated from Samoa in 2010, and they plan on staying in San Francisco for many years. "I want my kids to grow up here," said Moana. "There are many different people here."
In the midst of consistent gang violence over the years in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, Wendy Butler (53), far right, was able to keep her family close. "I feel blessed. My kids chose to live a good life," said Butler. She raised all of her children in the Hunters Point neighborhood, and her kids, the oldest 33, still live with and take care of her. "This is home. I'd rather them live here than anywhere else," said Butler.
Chang Er Lee, 72, and her daughter Iwen Bernstein, 46, perform Tai Chi at Silver Terrace Park on May 30, 2017. Lee lives in Taiwan, and traveled to America to visit her daughter Iwen, who has lived in the Bay Area her entire life. "This is her first day back in America," said Iwen. "She hasn't been here in fourteen years. I want to make sure we have a good time."
A old portrait of Wendy Butler, her son, Raymone Sanders and her granddaughter, Leyn'a Molina sit on the bottom shelf of her dresser amongst other photographs and a pair of Raymone's basketball sneakers in their Hunters Point apartment on May 30, 2017.
Crystal Tucker, 30, picks up trash inside of her neighborhood in Hunters Point as her daughter, Noel Whittenberg, 3, wipes her eyes on May 30, 2017. Tucker works for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, and cleans up her neighborhood every morning starting at 6 am. "I usually don't bring my daughter with me, but she loves it," said Tucker. "She is awake when I get up anyways."
A woman and children walk past a family mural in the mission neighborhood on May 29, 2017. In today's society, more families are blending and becoming more diverse than ever before. According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of traditional two parent families in America have dropped 27% from 1960 to 2014. Similarly, the percentage of cohabiting and single parent households have increased in the same time period.
"If you see something that's not right you have to try and fix it," Wendy Butler, 53, explained to her granddaughter Leyn'a Molina, 8, inside of their Hunter's point apartment on May 30, 2017. "As much as I fuss about them, (her family) I love having them here. Although Leyn'a is Wendy's granddaughter, Wendy helped raise her while her mother was away in college.
High School football teammates Stanton Thomas, center, and Raymone Sanders work on Sanders' car outside of his family's apartment in Hunters Point on May 30, 2017. Many of Sanders' teammates and friends live in the same neighborhood as him, and they all spent time together almost everyday.
Wendy Butler, 53, watches her children and their friends relax and play video games in her apartment in Hunter's Point on May 30, 2017. Butler, once a drug addict, raised her kids by herself in the same neighborhood where she grew up in, and has witnessed all of her children graduate high school and pursue college educations around the country. "I am so proud of my children," said Butler. "They did not let the outside world get to them, and they are all successful."
San Francisco natives (from left) Jason Willis, 32, Quin Johnson, 42, and Joell Willis, 6 bike through the basketball courts at Silver Terrace Park on May 30, 2017. "This is my park," said Johnson. "I've been riding my bike here since forever." Willis and Johnson grew up a few blocks away from the park, and now take their kids to the park a couple times a week.