With the horrifically eventful year of 2020 coming to a close, we are still suffering from the effects of Covid-19. Even though Black Lives Matter has made great strides in sending its message across the United States, I worry we will grow content. "We" being the people who have the privilege to become content. "We" who have the freedom to bunker within our households. Safe from the outside world until the tempest quells. All while the storm destroys those neglected most.
I've had the privilege to shed light on these lives. I've met with the homeless of Texas this year and heard their stories and struggles. Many people's detriment during 2020 was a dent in their paychecks; for others, it is a death sentence and daily battle for survival. With the inability to find a stable job and the lack of social institutions to assist these people, I hope contentment doesn't become ingrained within our country. I hope these pictures are enough. Their smiles and solemn stares, their humanity echoing through each shot to show how we've dismissed fellow humans.
Place yourself in the shoes of the discarded members of our society. Chris, a man convicted of murder, now reformed, is trying to get his life back on track for his family and children. However, no one will hire him because of his criminal record, along with the pandemic's job strain. Truck-Driver, a cocaine teacher, not out of want but out of the inability to live with the drastically low minimum wages. Many conclude these are lost members of society and turn their back towards them. I assure anyone that if the homeless had the assurance of their survival through social safety nets, they would turn away from crime and live productive lives. Although currently, crime is the forbidden fruit tempting their starving stomachs. This coming year let us not dive into contentment but continue to value the fleeting sentiments of humanity.
Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, Alejandro Abarca is a documentary photographer currently working towards a Photography degree with the University of the Incarnate Word.