Thursday, July 12, 2007

John Wojnowski of Vatican Hides Pedophiles

When 15 year old John Wojnowski was sexually molested by a Catholic priest in Italy, in 1958, the experience was so traumatizing that he repressed it for many years.

39 years later, at the age of 54, news of a Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal in Texas started the recovery of his memory and an awareness of the damage that had been done.

After becoming aware of the damage, Wojnowski wrote to the Vatican Embassy. When they ignored his letter he began, 1998, a one man protest in front of the Vatican Embassy, across from the Vice President's House on Massachusetts Avenue in NW Washington DC.

Which was when I first observed and sometimes photographed him since as an independent contractor associated with Occasions Caterers I often catered for Tipper and Al Gore.

Unlike many of my colleaques who dismissed him as a lunatic the fact that I took the time photograph or acknowledging him when reporting to work at the Vice President's House represented a statement of solidarity. And support. Or, at least, empathy.

As would be the case when in November 2002 and 2003 that in the process of documenting the Soulforce Protest at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that I also captured John Wojnowski.

While I was not abused by priests, as a 53 year old black male, I do know a great deal about institutionalized racism. And hearing the same colleagues who for many years dismissed Wojnowski, at the same time, also dismiss me and my very vocal protests against their racism against me.

And in the same exact way that they dismissed Wojnowsi as 'a lunatic' they also 'dissed me'.

So, each time that I see Wojnowski, I reflect on the many government agents inclduing one who was a priest whose right to do drugs were projected onto me. It was during this time and, in fact, beginning in 1988, that many a white crack addict had been positioned around me. And when ever they came around me, they affected my life, my home and my work. So, my experiences when catering for the Gores was rooted in a form of racism that I will never recover from.

A racism that, as a 53 year old black male, I am still confronting today.

So, when photographing John Wojnowski on the Red Line on Thursday evening, 12 July 2007, it was statement of solidarity. From the perspective a 53 year old black man ...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Friday Night in WDC Summer Series / 06 July 2007

I actually began my Friday Night in WDC Summer 2007 Series on Friday, 8 June when the day after my return from a Memorial Day Holiday in Fort Lauderdale that I stopped in at Frank Muzzy's Bare to Bear opening reception at Pulp on 14th Street.

Armed with a new Canon Power Shot S3 1S I recorded my second video-interview when after leaving the reception and in the course of my ongoing 14th Street Project that I happened upon David Dienstag, a motorcycle enthusiant, who lives just one block south of Pulp On 14th Street.

The following week when on a weekend trip to my hometown, Lexington Park, in Southern Maryland for the purpose of photographing the Saturday, 16 June 2007 St. Mary's County Juneteenth Celebration I captured Friday Nights in Southern Maryland at the Brusters Real Ice Cream in Hollywood Maryland.

My 22 June 2007 Friday Night in Washington DC begin with the Herb White Memorial Service at the Friends Meeting House and concluded with the Two Steps Away Dancers in Dupont Circle.

Having spent Wednesday and Thursday, 27 - 28 June, capturing the first two days of the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival I spent Friday night, 29 June, organizing my photos and finishing up on the June 2007 webpage.

And re-editing my ongoing "Independence Day" photoessays which includes "It's A Camera, Not A Gun" and "When White Folks Come Around" and "The Fiddler".

In the past, my Friday Evening Photo Walks and Friday Nights in Washington DC were represented by still images. Whereas, this past Friday's 'walk against racism' involved videography.

I began my 06 July 2007 Video Walk at Dupont Circle South by capturing the Madison Livelystones Band, who I have photographed since 1994. While I did shoot a few few still images along Connecticut Avenue at Dupont Circle North I resumed my video walk at the corner of 17th and Q Streets. And proceeded south to P Street, east to 14th through the Logan Circle area and south on 14th Street to Thomas Circle.

Dancing On The Beach 7 - East Hampton NY - Saturday, 28 July 2007

Convicts take over the 'joint' at the Kennedy Center on 1 September 2007

The Prison Art Gallery, in conjunction with its parent organization the Prisons Foundation, will be presenting a three-hour show at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 7pm. The show, entitled "How Music Helped Me Escape from Prison," consists of singers and musicians who put their interest in music to productive ends while behind bars. Everyone is invited to attend this free event.

If you are an ex-prisoner musician or singer, or know of an ex-prisoner musician/singer, there is still time to be included in the show. Each performer will have a designated amount of time to perform songs of her or his choice with brief remarks about how these songs helped her/him rise above the prison experience.

Organizations are especially welcomed to become a sponsor, which includes many special privileges and inclusion in the Kennedy Center program and in a video production of this historic event. For further information, please call 202-393-1511.

Located three blocks from the White House, the Prison Art Gallery is served by two Metro stations (Farragut North on the Red Line, and McPherson on the Orange and Blue Lines). Note that the entrance is on 16th Street, at the corner of K Street. Open Mon to Fri, 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 to 5:30 PM (also open evenings by appointment - groups welcome - admission is always free).