documentary

A Day Without Immigrants by Liz Brown

"He saw the need and he did something about it. He didn't just say he was for me or with me. He was actually with me...
Faith isn't about knowing all the right stuff or obey all the rules... it involves being present and making a sacrifice."
- Bob Goff

"I want to use my camera as a microphone." Jeremy Cowart said that and I haven't been able to forget it.
My camera is a gift. My sight is a gift. My words are a gift. The fact that anyone listens to me is a gift. Another word you could use is privilege.

So this morning I went and sat and stood on the capital steps. I sat on the curb next to a girl in a hijab. I was surrounded by the chant: "Si se puede!" And I cried. I feel selfish writing that. This day isn't about me. And I wasn't crying for me. I was crying because 3000 people (and counting) feel unsafe and unwanted in their workplaces and homes.

It's a privilege that I can work part time and spend my morning outside with a camera. These men and women didn't go to work so that they could be here. These teens skipped school. They risked a lot more than I did to show up this morning. The least I can do is bring my camera: my microphone.

I shot digital until my camera died, then film until I ran out of it. Then I felt useless. But you know what? Sometimes it's just important to show up and sit with people. Sit with people who are different than you. Cry with them. Listen to them. Use your gifts and your privilege as a microphone.

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To the men and women I stood beside today: I'm sorry. You are worthy. You are important. You belong.

This little gal was my step-sitting buddy.

I initially approached this area of the capital steps because of the lady with the green sign. She was enthusiastically leading cries and chants (I don't know what the word is for an impassioned but peaceful rallying cry). Then I saw the woman next to her. Those two women, standing, next to each other for the same reason. Unlikely comrades. In a pause, I asked them for a portrait. Beautiful. Strangers. Smiling. Side by side. Loving each other. Peacefully protesting together. love is present. Love does.

The man with the pink sign was so enthusiastic, grinning and leading cheers and chants.

Latte Throwdown by Liz Brown

To set the scene. Des Moines hosted its first latte throwdown, and I was honored to be the "professional customer" judge. Basically, it involved choosing between two cappuccinos at at time (like going to the eye doctor) while seated between two judges who knew a lot more than I do. The entire cafe was packed and it was quite fun.

Over the past 2 years in particular, I've been invited into rooms I don't deserve to be in. 
Sometimes that room looks like a stadium and I'm holding a camera. 


Sometimes that room looks like the bedroom floor of a new friend and I'm listening and eating something like pad Thai or pizza.

Sometimes that room looks like a car at night with the music way too loud or not at all and I'm alive, I'm alive. 

And sometimes that room looks like the bar of a coffee shop I've visited more times than I can count. Beside folks who know incalculably more about coffee than I do. Judging a latte art competition together. I have no business being here, really. But here I am. Invited.

What fun. What an honor. Undeserved. 

Every time I'm let into a room, into a stadium, or a home, or a business, or a life, or a soul: every time that is an honor. In a way, it feels like a sacred space. But only sometimes do I remember that and take the time to be blown away with gratefulness. 

I never want to take this life for granted. God, let me always be awestruck, wonderstruck at these opportunities. Big moments or small, I want to forever marvel over this life.

Enjoy the rest of these photos from the evening.