Young Women Speaking the Economy

I.M.O.W. Team

The Women of North Richmond (USA)

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The Women of North Richmond
North Richmond, California, USA. 2010. Digital.

In early 2010, I began working on a project about the community of North Richmond, California, one of the poorest in the state and country. Chevron Corporation has proposed expanding their crude oil refinery in North Richmond, and the community has been struggling against it. Local media has vilified the North Richmond community for resisting what they consider to be an economic opportunity, but I wanted to see if there was another side to the story.

I discovered a place that in many ways is a model community, where women are central to the community's stability and live as equals with men. Many women are unemployed in the traditional sense but employ themselves through volunteerism and leadership roles. By volunteering, they maintain a sense of dignity and help build a better life for all who live there. I photographed women involved with the Community Wellness Project, the North Richmond Green Initiative, community greening and gardening programs, as well as women who volunteer to coach kids in sports or who work and care for the elderly at the Senior Center. The women of Richmond demonstrate that in challenging economic times we can still do great work to improve our local communities.

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