What does it mean to be American?

I recently spent some time for this story in Southern California's El Cajon--home to one of the largest Arabic and Chaldean speaking populations in the country. In the 80s there was a massive influx of Chaldean's escaping persecution in Iraq that emigrated. El Cajon adapted. The schools too. Today, the El Cajon Valley School District employs all these unique inclusion strategies for their newcomers which are largely refugees. They have bilingual teachers, they do book reading nights with the parents, the do one-on-one orientations, teachers are trained to spot trauma and do home visits. It's remarkable. Recently there has been a wave of Syrian's being resettled in El Cajon. This year alone, the district took in 836 new foreign-born students, a third of which are Syrian refugees.

Written by the ever-talented Abigail Hauslohner, the piece ended up running A1 on Saturday. 

It ran online with a blog post about the experience. Abigail wrote more about what we went to find in El Cajon and why we approached as such. 

I photographed for a story with NBC News about the 25th anniversary of the LA Riots. For it I made portraits of key players and they included a portrait with Lora King, Rodney Kings daughter. "There were plenty of Trayvon Martins, Rodney Kings before those incidents took place. And I believe that we are connected in some way or another." 

I worked on this sweet story by Megan Theilking about students who live in retirement communities while they are studying Gerontology. 

Also, photographed for this story in the Washington Post about local elections in Los Angeles. 

As always, thanks for looking!