The Woman Behind “Streetwise” — Exploring the Work of Mary Ellen Mark

Michelle Dunn Marsh of Photographic Center Northwest describes the enduring legacy of her mentor at this “Streetwise Revisited” event at The Seattle Public Library 

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Mary Ellen Mark. Photo by Joni Kabana Photography

 

By Shan Yonamine, Project Assistant, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

 

When I think of the “Streetwise” documentary, the image that immediately fills my mind is “Tiny in her Halloween costume” – the iconic photo of Erin “Tiny” Blackwell dressed elegantly in black, her stare piercing through the thin veil over her eyes. Many people will recognize this photo of Tiny, but they may not know about the photographer who made this iconic photo.

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Tiny in Her Halloween Costume. Photo by Mary Ellen Mark

I had the opportunity to attend an art history talk on Oct. 5 by Michelle Dunn Marsh – the executive director of Photographic Center Northwest and colleague of renowned documentary photographer, Mary Ellen Mark – and I learned more about the photographer behind this classic image.

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Michelle Dunn Marsh. Photo by Sylvia Plachy.

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The “Lunch Ladies,” And Other Islands of Calm in a Choppy Sea

 

As First Place School weathers another storm, dedicated staff and volunteers keep things afloat

By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness

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The very picture of serenity: Wube Worku of First Place School.

Last Friday, five days before school was scheduled to start, the halls of First Place School were fairly quiet.  In the classrooms of this school in Seattle’s Central District, brightly colored new backpacks stuffed with supplies were neatly lined up in the classroom cubbies. Volunteers like me from Seattle University‘s day of service were sprucing up the lunchroom bulletin boards and moving unneeded furniture into storage. In the kitchen, the “lunch lady,” Wube Worku, chopped vegetables and prepped the counters, pots and pans for a busy school year.

It all seemed cheerful and calm; but under the surface there was tension. Only days before, the school’s board had made the “business decision” to cut back from six grades — K-5 — to K-1 only. That decision left most of the school’s 90 homeless and vulnerable children without a school days before they were to start. For children and families in an already unstable situation, that’s a serious blow. Continue reading

A Tribute to Barry Mitzman

As our founder leaves, we reflect on what he’s taught our community about ending family homelessness

By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director
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Barry Mitzman, delivering his lecture “A Quiet Crisis,” in which he reflects on six years leading our family homelessness projects at Seattle University. Photo by Steve Schimmelman.

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Art for Advocacy: The Face of Family Homelessness

How partners across Washington state are using art for advocacy around homelessness.

By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

Inocente at SAM walking down aisle by Steve Schimmelman

Partnering with Seattle Art Museum for the screening of “Inocente” allowed us to reach a new audience of art lovers. Here, they give Inocente a standing ovation at the conclusion of the film. Photo by Steve Schimmelman. 

Republished from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, April 7, 2016.

A young woman of color takes the stage. With a quick prop change and shift of her posture, she becomes several different characters: a young military veteran, a successful business executive, a street paper vendor, all of whom have been hit with homelessness. Continue reading

Making an Infographic on Homelessness: The Designer’s Tale

By Amy Phung, Digital Design Project Assistant, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

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Between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Jan. 29, 2016, over 1,000 volunteers set out to count the number of people outside, unsheltered in King County during the 36th annual One Night Count. In preparation for this day, I along with our fierce project manager, Catherine Hinrichsen, and previous Digital Design Project Assistant, McKenna Haley, worked through the month of January to create a visual element to represent the One Night Count results for our partners at All Home. Continue reading

Two Worlds Collide: Inequality in America

A “Sleep Out” in Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza during Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week in mid-November. Photo Credit: Laura Tarnosky, <a href="http://streetsense.org/article/covenant-house-advocates-freedom-plaza-sleep-out-previews-vigil/#.VlzIkmSrRz9" target="_blank"><span class="s1">Street Sense.</span></a>
A “Sleep Out” in Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza during Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week in mid-November. Photo Credit: Laura Tarnosky, Street Sense.
Written by Lindsey Habenicht, Seattle University student and project assistant, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

Wandering around the streets of downtown Washington, D.C., and trying to find the building where I interned for the summer, I passed by eight people on the streets. A cacophony of voices—begging and pleading for someone to help—overwhelmed me, as did my inability to help them on my own. I had been in the District for less than 24 hours and already witnessed the plight of people who are homeless in excruciating detail. No matter where I walked, I continued to hear the same calls:

“Excuse me, do you have any change?”

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Invisible Families — Five Years After the Landmark Seattle Times Series on Family Homelessness

Seattle Times 29 Aug 2010 Front PageBy Catherine Hinrichsen, project manager, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

The crashing ocean waves were the score to my quest on a Saturday night five years ago, at a quiet seaside housing development on the Washington coast. I excused myself from our little multi-family gathering around 10 p.m. to go stake out the central office, in search of an Internet connection. Though it was after hours and the building was closed, the wifi was still on. I lugged my heavy, ancient laptop to a pillar with a ledge and propped it up, typing into the search bar “www.seattletimes.com”… Would it be there? And what would it say? Continue reading

Portraits of Homelessness

Sharing the Depth of the Human Experience: “Portraits of Homelessness” at the 2015 Global Street Paper Summit

By Lindsey Habenicht, Project Assistant, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

Lindsey with conference passEditor’s Note: Seattle University hosted the International Network of Street Papers (INSP)  Global Street Paper Summit June 24-26, 2015, which welcomed more than 120 journalists from street papers in 22 countries, including Seattle’s Real Change. Our assistant, Lindsey Habenicht (above), is spending the summer as an intern for one of those papers, Street Sense of Washington, D.C. Before she left Seattle, Lindsey attended the Summit as a street paper communicator and volunteer blogger. This is an adapted version of Lindsey’s post for the Summit.

The narrative of what homelessness is and is not is often uninformed, uneducated, and even unknown completely. While many are aware of the issue of homelessness, they remain unaware of the person: the veteran, the child, the musician, the artist, the entrepreneur, and the like.

“Why is that?” asked Rex Hohlbein of Facing Homelessness. “How could [we] be so disconnected from the simple and obvious fact that homelessness involves real people with real suffering?”

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Keynote speaker Rex Holbein started the Facebook page “Homeless in Seattle”’ in March of 2011 to share something beautiful about each person living on the street. Photo courtesy of facinghomelessness.org

Rex was the keynote speaker at the Global Street Paper Summit’s opening night event, “Portraits of Homelessness,” June 24, which told stories through more than 100 works of visual art, films and audio recordings. Continue reading

Real Change Goes Digital — No Cash, No Problem

By Paige McAdam

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Note: We’re pleased to welcome to our team Paige McAdam, a Seattle University political science major. Because Paige has a special connection to Real Change, we asked her to attend the April 16 launch of the new smartphone app that customers can use to buy their copies of Real Change. Here’s her report.

The first time I bought an issue of Real Change News was in 2012. The concept of providing a source of income for those experiencing homelessness — while also creating content based around economic justice issues — immediately dazzled me. I became a contributing writer a few weeks later, and have been an avid reader of the paper ever since. Today, Real Change made history, entering what founder Tim Harris calls “Real Change 2.0.”

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