CHARACTERS

Louisiana

ANDREANECIA M. MORRIS (NEW ORLEANS)

Andreanecia is dedicated above and beyond to creating a more equitable New Orleans. As the executive director for HousingNOLA, she states their mission is simple, ” We believe New Orleans can and must provide high-quality, safe and accessible housing that is affordable to individuals and families of all income levels throughout New Orleans.” Andreanecia fights tirelessly for her city and has allowed us into her life as a leader, a woman of color in politics, and a voice for the voiceless. Her expertise and first-hand experience exposes the truth about housing and economic inequalities that many Americans have yet to fully comprehend.

Malik Rahim

Malik is a housing and prison activist based since the late 1990s in the New Orleans area, where he grew up. A veteran and former Black Panther in New Orleans, in 1970 Malik moved out to California, working on issues of affordable housing in San Francisco. In 2005 Rahim gained national publicity as a community organizer in New Orleans in 2005 to combat the widespread destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; there he co-founded the Common Ground Collective. To-date, Malik endeavors to address climate impact and injustice as means to re-establish community cohesions critical to combat displacement and disparities.

 

In 2019, Malik was honored at Southern University in New Orleans as a Living Legend recognizing his decades of civil rights and community activities.

 

asali devan ecclesiastes

 

Asali, as educator, organizer, author, event producer and performer, brings her deep roots in New Orleans’ indigenous culture to her new work as Executive Director of the Ashé Cultural Arts Center.  On January 1, 2020, Ms. Ecclesiastes took the reins of one of the city’s most important community development institutions and looks forward to ushering in a new era of culture, community, and Commerce.

For the previous five years, as Director of Strategic Neighborhood Development for the New Orleans Business Alliance and Claiborne Corridor Program Manager for the Mayor’s Office of New Orleans, Asali designed equitable development strategies for high impact neighborhoods—empowering resident leaders and making bold commitments to address entrenched disparities.  She advanced place- based projects and secured funding within six priority areas: economic opportunity, cultural preservation, affordable housing, transportation choice and access, environmental sustainability, and safe & healthy neighborhoods.

Before her brief life in government, Ms. Ecclesiastes worked as Congo Square Coordinator for N.O. Jazz & Heritage Festival, Artist Relations Director and Empowerment Seminars Author for Essence Music Festival, and Executive Producer of Tremé 200 Festival, N.O. Juneteenth Festival, Tremé/7th Ward Arts & Culture Festival, and Akoben Words-In-Action Festival

Sara taylor

For the first time in her life, Sara feels that the future for her middle class quality of life is extremely uncertain. Unlike past events she had encountered when there was still faith that somehow things will work out, the now is extremely unsettling. The precarious conditions in 2020, propelled by the pandemic Coronavirus and ensuing events, are shared experience and witness for so many in America.


As Sara and her family face the impact of unemployment, depleting savings, shifting education environment for her teenage children and aging parents with ailments she must help attend, the spiral towards losing grip on life as she knew it becomes the reality of a new normal. At the same time, she continues to be concerned about the environmental impact in the immediate New Orleans region and the recollection of the devastations left behind from Katrina.

NEW MEXICO

WENDY & RONDA (ALBUQUERQUE)

Wendy and Ronda are two hardworking women who fight every day to stay in business doing what they love. After leaving the comfort of corporate jobs, the two best friends opened their own salon to pursue their passion as hairdressers. Together they have experienced loss, a changing neighborhood, and multiple break-ins. However, through each trying moment, hey have remained dedicated, positive, and loving. Their story resonates with us and many others as the story of how community, passion, and dedication can fuel those who are living paycheck to paycheck.


AARON DIXON (ALBUQUERQUE)

Aaron is a former Black Panther Party captain and founder of the BPP Seattle chapter. His memoir My People are Rising details his life during a tumultuous time in American history and Civil Rights history. Now, 60 years later, Dixon is noticing a similarly divisive period in the U.S. As a lifelong activist fighting against racial, social, and economic injustices, Aaron gives warnings about what the future may hold. His wealth of knowledge from both experience and education provides insight into the walking nightmare that many Americans have yet to wake up from.

JAIME (JAMES) GALINDO (ALBUQUERQUE)

James is a straight-forward, opinionated, no bull-shit type of guy. He ran a store selling antiques in a once familiar neighborhood. However, as a new apartment building moved next door and started renting at $2,000 a month, the neighborhood changed. In the midst of gentrification, James lost his store, his income, and almost his house. All of this toppled with an unexpected medical emergency has left him wondering what his next steps will be. James’s story unfolds one raw twist and turn to the next, yet one thing that remains true is that his story is not unfamiliar to the many Americans walking in his same shoes.

Melissa & Evan (Albuquerque)

Melissa and Evan are a husband and wife team who are passionate about serving their community through alternative and holistic health. In 2015 they started an online store, Wethington Holistic Arts, to provide affordable and powerful treatments to their friends, family, and neighbors. While their passion lies within healing, they too are unfortunately trapped in the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Melissa and Evan both have other full time jobs in order to help pay the bills. Even though they try to dedicate as much time to healing, volunteering, and contributing to their community as possible, they find themselves trapped in the walking nightmare that is multiple jobs and still barely being able to afford basic expenses never mind their passion.

Dr. Amber grey (Santa Fe)

pacific northwest coridor

cameron sigler (Eugene, or)

Cameron works for a program that helps find housing for families coming out of treatment or involved in DHS child welfare. The program assists these families with the first year’s rent as well as other bills as much as they are able. Through his personal life, Cameron has similarly struggled to find housing he could afford making moderate wages. Through helping other more vulnerable families, he witnesses first-hand the absurdly high housing market rates, discrimination against people in need of affordable housing, and the status quo that works against them. Cameron is a transgender male, an old soul, and a caring being through and through.

MIDWEST

WOMAN IN MIDWESt (wim)

WIM recalls Rockwell-esque upbringing with comfort and expectation of perceived upper middle class small town Americana. But the façade soon gave way to a chain of life changing events leading to several decades of life marked by precarious means to barely surviving. She now juggles multiple low paying jobs and unstable housing, all in a trying attempt to reshape the long endured physical and mental health assaults inflicted on her. But all of this rendered her very strength to work on exposing and conveying the trauma she painfully experienced so others who are suffering and do not have a voice may find a way to a dignified livelihood…