‘Voices of Race’ Local photographer creates series to amplify the voices in communities of color

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 9:10 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - “I wanted to create a space and share my platform for people to share whatever they wanted to share,” said Kathleen Dreier, a local freelance photographer in Tucson.

From the pandemic that shifted the world more than a year ago to social unrest that have dominated the headlines. Kathleen has dedicated her work to capturing those moments through her lens, one picture at a time.

She created a series called ‘Voices of Race’ that helps amplify our communities voices. Since then, she has featured about 200 people, each one having a story behind it. “After George Floyd’s murder, I attended a vigil in Tucson, there was many things that happened at the vigil that woke something up in me that as a white woman I never thought about before,” she said.

Her second series was titled ‘Tucson Black Voices,’ invites people in the community to share their lived experiences being black in America. “There are so many perspectives within the black community about the issues and how to address them and it occurred to me that If I’m that ignorant as a 60-year-old white woman that there must be a lot more people with my skin color equally as ignorant as I am,” she added.

One of the people she featured is, Tony Rufin, Founder of Pillar and Bridges. He tells us that Kathleen’s work is empowering. Beginning these conversations that were long overdue. “To actually see the conversations actually moving forward, I’m relieved, all I can say that it’s about time,” he mentioned.

Kathleen’s other series is called, ‘What White People Think,’ turning the camera on herself and calling others in her community to stop and reflect. “It was time for us to look at ourselves in the mirror and reflect on what we’re going to do to be social change agents,” she said.

Kathleen said that this process has been revolutionary, but has also taught her that we all have a story worth listening to. “We learn about the other person, but if we’re brave enough, we learn something about ourselves,” she said.

But although there’s been a lot of accomplishments and steps forward, Kathleen said there’s still a lot of work left to do.

“I’m hearing from people from all walks of life that who do not have this skin tone, when I’m pulled over because of speeding how I might get a warning, someone gets pulled over for dark windows and gets pepper sprayed, how can someone look at those images and not say, that is wrong,” she said.

The storyteller will also be putting a series together to amplify Asian-American and Pacific Islanders voices in Tucson.

This comes after hate crimes against the community skyrocketed during the pandemic and the Atlanta shootings that happened that last month, that killed 8 people, 6 of them were from Asian descent.

To view more of Kathleen’s work and portraits, here is the link to her website.

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