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Help Kirti give the Homeless a Voice in California

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My name is Kirti and I am both a professional photographer and a story teller. I am currently working in my project documenting Homelessness in California. During my travels here in  California, I have had to evacuate two wildfires and a car accident. I was fortunate enough to have had the family support that helped me get back on my feet.  Staying in the South Bay area and traveling across the Bay Area its hard not see the Tents, between old RVs and sleeping on the pavements in the streets,  where so many people who are currently homeless or on the edge of homelessness for many reasons are living. Hearing their stories, you soon realize that these are mostly normal people dealing with extraordinary circumstances, who just want to be heard and treated with some respect as fellow human beings.

As we carry out our day to day lives we are oblivious to the struggles of those individuals we encounter. The grocery store cashier, the fast food clerk, the student in the library: anyone of them could be homeless. Anyone of us could be facing homelessness in the near future. The reality of the world we live in is that any one of us is just one day, one moment, one tragedy away from homelessness. Recent wildfires in Paradise are a strong reminder of how quickly this can happen.

Homelessness is a rapidly growing issue in California. My vision is to create a community space in which we can tell the stories of our homeless friends - without judgement or preconception. I am currently focused on telling the stories of the homeless communities across the Bay Area, Easy Bay, South Valley and Monterey County. It's particularly dangerous for single women. By making the plight of the homeless population visible, I hope to raise awareness and help bring in more resources to improve the safety net available to our homeless friends and help them get back on their feet.

My first goal was to create a photographic exhibit called "Homeless Voices", which was shown at the Gilroy Arts Centre on January 5th-27th 2019.

The exhibition has been shown at the State Capital in Sacramento on April 23rd Where The Mayor of Sacramento, and some Senators and legislators were able to look at the stories. Remarking that The stories were "putting a name to the faces" "making them human again" It was received very positively and encouraged to show in other cities adding their stories. California For The Arts Advocacy selected this exhibition for its positive impact through Arts, and I was the only visual artist from California to be invited for that event. 

The exhibition is currently showing in Oakland at the Warehouse416, its having a very positive response over 250 people showed up on the opening day and were very engaged and moved by the stories.

 My hope to bring the same concept to other local cities struggling with the affordable housing crisis that now extends even to working professionals -  I intend to tell individual stories that encapsulate the struggles of the homeless community in each city around the Bay Area, such as Santa Cruz, San Jose, Monterey, Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco - hosting an exhibition in each one that creates compassion and awareness of the issues amongst the general public.

I am in need of funds to cover 15 stories, next 3-5  cities to complete the portraits, post-production, production, printing and logistics for the project.

Any contribution you can offer to help make this vision a reality, will help build awareness and support for our homeless friends who are human beings - so they are not voiceless and they are heard with respect and compassion. 

To see more of the photography we have gathered so far, see https://kirtibassendine.com/gallery/homeless-voices.  To find out more about my background, visit https://kirtibassendine.com/about/kirti. To connect with me and follow the project, friend me at https://www.facebook.com/kirti.fataniabassendine.

Many thanks for your support!

Organizadora

Kirti Bassendine
Organizadora
Gilroy, CA

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