this is america

Ahmed Al-Akhasrachi plays on his iPad in his parent's bedroom in Greensboro, North Carolina on March 18, 2018. His family fled from Iraq as refugees and settled in Greensboro with the help of Guilford College's program Every Campus A Refuge.

Throughout Donald Trump's presidency, I noticed that when people spoke of the state of America, there were two different stories being told. One story was of prosperity, freedom, and success; the other was of hopelessness, anger, and inequality. Privilege vs. struggle. Certainty vs. instability. Power vs. fear. This photo essay is a visual comparison of these two differing realities as I saw them, and continue to see them, in my own communities.

A local high school student shouts praises during a prayer led by a pastor during a Black Lives Matter protest in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 7, 2020. She later stood in front of the crowd and recited two spoken word pieces about being black in America.

Nita Bucklen bows her head in prayer as the speaker prays against abortion in the United States at a Trump rally in Circleville, Ohio on Oct. 24, 2020. Trump was running during re-election and thousands of people from all over Ohio attend the rally.

"One America is beautiful situations. In this America, millions of people have the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality flowing before them. But there is another America, and this other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms ebulliency of hope into the fatigue of despair." - Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)

A double exposure of President Donald Trump at a Trump campaign rally in Circleville, Ohio on Oct. 24, 2020.

Ashley Wines, right, holds her son Huxley Klimas as she leaves the stables at the Last Chance Corral in Athens, Ohio on Oct. 2, 2019. The Last Chance Corral is a ranch that rehabilitates ponies and sells horses to ranches across the United States.

Anuwar Kasim steps out of the New Life Hmong Alliance Church in Milwaukee’s Clark Square neighborhood on Monday, May 17, 2021. Kasim is the head of the Rohingya community in Milwaukee and has been trying to find a space to house a community center for many years.

An almost-empty fridge in an empty Ohio University building on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Food insecurity in the United States was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of rising unemployment and poverty rates. According to Feeding America, certain racial and ethnic groups experience food insecurity at greater rates when compared to their white counterparts. This is a direct result of structural racism and discrimination, which affects not only food insecurity, but also the underlying factors that lead to it.

45th President of the United States Donald Trump gives a speech at the reelection rally he hosted in Circleville, Ohio on Oct. 24, 2020.

The American Muslims for Palestine held a protest and rally in support of the Palestinian cause against Israel in front of The Calling sculpture in downtown Milwaukee on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. 

Emily Martins de Sa, left, and Madison Hilton take photos of their Barbie dolls on March 26, 2020. Hilton and Martins de Sa spent a great deal of time together during the first COVID-19 quarantine.

Korean War Veteran Larry Wiest poses for a portrait at the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight’s Second Parade of Honor on Sunday, May 23, 2021. 

Elle Halo holds her fist up in honor of George Floyd at the march for PRIDE and the Black Lives Matter anniversary celebration on Sunday, June 13, 2021.

Akari Wilder steps outside of his new home on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Wilder, who identifies as a transgender man, grew up in the foster system, saying that he often had to be his own source of light and joy during that time of his life. This is Wilder's first living space that he has owned by himself and is a major accomplishment for him. 

Linda Anderson poses for a portrait at the Jay Day gathering in Madison Park on Saturday, June 26. The event is held in honor of Jay Anderson, Jr., Linda’s son, who was shot by Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah in the park in 2016.

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