“Home, for me, feels like a place where I can be myself, where I don’t feel like I’m going to be harmed in any way. Where people respect my identities and they want to know more about me rather than being ignorant.” - Maria, 21
The idea of home conjures different feelings for different people. It could be a physical space, a feeling, a person, or something else entirely.
In Search Of... is a documentary project that aims to visually capture how millennials define “home”. Within the next year, millennials will surpass baby boomers as the fastest growing and largest generation in the United States. Born between 1981 and 1996, this cohort is more diverse than older generations based on their ethnic, gender, and sexual identities.
In the past few years, it has been found that 44% of millennials are non-white, 20% identify as LGBTQ, and one third say they are sexually fluid, meaning that they do not identify as completely heterosexual. This diversity plays a huge role in how millennials define home because, in order to identity with their surroundings and feel like a member of their community, they need to establish a place that guarantees emotional safety, along with providing personal connections and relationships.
As a millennial, I have lived all over the world, in all different types of living situations. Most millennials, at this current time in our lives, are still discovering who we are and where we want to end up. We may be living alone or with strangers, with friends, family, or significant others. A third of millennials are currently living at home with their parents and family, rather than live on their own or with roommates. Many of us are in a transitory period in our lives; we have yet to establish our homes, our roots, in one singular place. Because of debt obligations from school tuition and loans, millennials are not buying homes at the same rate as previous generations, and most unmarried millennials are delaying marriage until they have a strong financial basis with which to support a family.
Based on the conditions of the world they grew up in, in regards to social changes, technological advancements, political events, and economic trends, millennials relate to their living environments differently than older generations. Millennials tend to connect their personal and social identities to their physical surroundings. Finding a place to call home is an important and influential part of their development. By defining what home means to each of us, we are able to encourage our sense of belonging and establish a place where we can cultivate our identities.
In my journey, I have discovered that home is more than just a tangible place. Home is family, it is comfort and safety, it is where you can express who you are without fear, it is where you can establish a community and feel a part of something. Sometimes, home is merely just the present, where you are currently in life and how you feel about yourself.
In today’s world, people divide themselves from one another based on their differences. We distance ourselves from those we see as “other”, creating a societal chasm. Rather, we should focus on our common similarities and how that unifies us as humans. Home is a shared pursuit amongst people, and In Search Of... visually describes and captures that feeling. In the end, we all desire to discover where we belong, and ultimately, home is the single thread that binds us.
“Home is very people dependent for me. There are people that give me the feeling of being held, in community and in family and in home... When I was moving around and living all over, I felt like I didn’t have community. I was in search of it. But now, I feel like I’m slowly gaining that community back, that sense of being home.” - Maya, 27
From: Big Rock, Illinois
Lives In: Walnut Creek, California
Home is where I find comfort, it’s definitely not a specific place. I do feel at home here, although I’ve kind of become settled, it’s starting to feel too comfortable. I’m not really pushing myself to do new things or meet new people. Next thing I know, I’ll be 50, and I’ll still be here and never have done anything.
I come from a really small town, and I see a lot of people get sucked into a job, where they’re able to pay for their rent and their living expenses, and they never leave that. Before they know it, they’ll still be there, generations later, with their grandkids, and they never left that small town in the middle of nowhere. You’ll never grow as a person if you never see anything else.
Kaylee's Living Room
The first three weeks we lived here, we didn’t have any furniture. We only had our tent, our sleeping bags, and our blankets. We were broke. We lived in our tent in the living room for the first few weeks, which was actually really fun. That’s what I’ll always remember about living in this place.
Tilden Regional Park, California
I feel most at home on the road, with that excitement of not really knowing where you’re going or knowing what’s next.... I love being in my car, on the move. I think of being out in the mountains, driving on the road, where there are no people around and I’m not worrying about anything. I’m just moving and there are new things and possibilities ahead of me.
From: Ifran, Morocco
Lives In: Alexandria, Virginia
After graduating from high school, my plan was to go to college in Morocco. But before I started school, I applied for the visa lottery. A year later, when I was already in college, I found out that I got selected for the visa. At first, I wasn’t really excited about moving to a different country, but a lot of my friends and family encouraged me to do it, to go to the interviews and do all the paperwork.
When I first came here, it was really hard in the beginning, because it’s a new country, new people, everything feels new. It’s like you’re an alien on a totally new planet. It took some time to get used to, but after being here for almost two years, I’m more comfortable now.
Home to me will always be Morocco, because that’s where my entire family is. When I came here, the first few months were really hard, because I was away from my family. I always wanted to be independent, which happened when I moved here, but you don’t really know the value of something until you lose it, so of course, I didn’t know the importance of family until I was separated from them.
This is the Amazigh flag, it represents North Africa. There’s the yellow, the green, and the blue, which represent the desert, the green lands, and the sea. The symbol in the middle is the letter that represents the language, and it also looks like a person, and the red symbolizes the blood of the Berber people who died in the resistance. It’s a reminder of where I’ve come from and what I’ve left.
From: Pasadena, California
Lives In: Moraga, California
My favorite thing to do is wake up in the morning and make my coffee, go out on my balcony and just read my book. It’s become my morning ritual. If I don’t do that in the morning, I have a crazy day. I love it because I’ve never lived somewhere that’s surrounded by trees and is so peaceful. Part of why I enjoy living here is because I can do this every morning.
I love being independent. I completely support myself financially, so I can do whatever I want, when I want. I don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do anything.
I will say though, it’s really hard to make your own meals all the time. I’ve also realized how clean I am, and knowing that I’m the one that has to clean up after myself is really hard. Some of my housemates can be messy, and it can be tough at times, living like that.
To me, home is a place where you can totally be yourself, where you can express yourself and feel comfortable not just with who you are as a person, but also in your own skin. Home is where you can connect with the people you live with, and it’s also a place where you can walk around without any clothes on and feel totally at ease. And right now, I definitely have that with where I’m living.
In this house, with my roommates, we’re all really close with one another. I totally feel like I can be myself here, and I think having that allows me to go out into the world and experience more, because at the end of the day, I always have a place that I can come back to and feel totally comfortable.
Solina's Living Room
The summer of 2017 was the first summer that I didn’t live with my parents. That was the first time in my life that I established my own home besides the one I grew up in.
The best memory of that summer was throwing a party here, where most of the school came. Of course the police showed up, our landlord was called, and we got in a lot of trouble, but it was such a fun night, one that I’ll never forget.
From: London, United Kingdom
Lives In: Sterling, Virginia
Home is where I am in the present. Somewhere I can be myself, where I can really work on growing. It’s never been something that’s tied to a particular location. I’ve always felt at home in my own head.
It feels like if I were to commit to having a home and a physical place, then that’s something that could be taken away from me. I’m always there for myself in my own head so it’s immutable... home is the present, it’s more of a time than a place.
Great Falls, Virginia
Living in northern Virginia is pretty good so far. It’s really green, and there’s always interesting places to go. Before this, I was living in upstate New York for the past few years, and I got used to the weather and everything became familiar, which is nice, but I also think it’s become too comfortable, and I’m ready to move beyond that. Here, I like being a lot closer to nature, which is what I’ve been looking for. The mountains are right nearby, which is a comforting thought.
Aftermath: What Remains of Santa Rosa
In the late hours of October 8, 2017, wildfires broke out across the Sonoma, Mendocino, and Napa counties in Northern California. Authorities are still trying to determine what caused these fires, and are speculating that power lines and high winds are to blame. The most destructive of these fires is the Tubbs Fire, which scorched more than 36,000 acres, destroying thousands of homes and businesses in Santa Rosa. Whole neighborhoods have been reduced to ash and rubble, such as the Coffey Park neighborhood. These series of fires have been the most devastating the state has seen in modern history, claiming 43 lives as of October 31, the day the fire was full contained. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials have said that overall, these Northern California fires had collectively scorched 90,000 acres, a collective area nearly the size of New York City.
Nasty Women Unite
On November 8, 2016, the world witnessed real estate television personality and political outsider, Donald Trump, win the presidential election over Hillary Clinton, a seasoned politician, by 77 electoral college votes in one of the most volatile elections the United States has ever experienced. Since November 9, the country has seen an unrelenting response in the form of hundreds of thousands converging on the streets in protest. Worldwide, there have been marches, demonstrations, and riots targeted against the Trump presidency and his policies that he has enacted in his first four months of office.
In the months leading up to the election, Trump repeatedly made misogynistic comments about women, and every week saw a new story about his egregious behaviors toward women. His sexist rhetoric, coupled with allegations of sexual assault, led him to be an unfavorable candidate by many American women. According to the National Election Pool, a collection of American news organizations that provides collected data about the results of election night, 54% of women voted for Hilary Clinton as opposed to the 42% who voted for Donald Trump. Trump’s win in November has left many women, especially those of color and of the LGBTQ community, worried about their futures. In the PerryUndem Gender Equality Report published in January of 2017, 42% of women believe that American women will feel more unsafe under Trump’s presidential rule. Women have channelled their anger, fear, and disappointment into positive activities, by attending protests and making their voices heard.
Protesting promotes an important opportunity for women to not only collectively voice their concerns about what they perceive as a threat to women’s rights, but to the rights of all human beings. Women are fighting for the rights of immigrants, the disabled, people of color, those in the LGBTQ community, and veterans. They care about the impact of climate change on the earth, foreign relations, and establishing a fair living wage. Nasty Women Unite: How Women Today Are Resisting Trump’s America is a visual documentation of the women who feel angry, disheartened, and trepidation over the current political uncertainty in the US. Through photographs, this project gives a female face to the defiance and resistance that is recorded in the news on a daily basis.
Though many women feel vulnerable and uncertain about the future of democracy during these times, these images demonstrate that through despair, women are stronger than ever, and are joined together in a common purpose to stand up for what they believe. These images bear witness to the determination and unrelenting pursuit of women nationwide, who have heard the siren call to rise up and join together in the fight for liberty and justice for all.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
- Maya Angelou, excerpt from Still I Rise, 1978
A woman marches towards the San Francisco ferry building holding her sign, depicting the symbol for feminism, during the Tax March on April 15, 2017. People took to the streets nationwide to demand the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
An estimated 60,000 protestors attended the Women’s March in Oakland on January 21, 2017. This march was just one of hundreds that took place worldwide, where women, men, and children took to the streets to show support for women everywhere, as well as a variety of issues that they feel are threatened by the Trump administration.
Signs lay stacked on the ground at a Human Billboard event outside Rockridge Bart station in Oakland, CA on April 1, 2017. Protestors stood to honor the lives of eight African-American and POC trans women who were murdered in the U.S. in the first 3 months of 2017. Their names are: Jaquarrius Holland, Chyna Gibson, Taja de Jesus, Ciara McElveen, Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, Keke Collier, Jojo Striker and Alphonza Watson.
A woman poses for a picture, holding her sign high, at the Women’s March in Oakland, California on January 21, 2017.
As the rain pours in San Francisco, a woman marches with thousands of others during the Women’s March on January 21, 2017. For many, the Women’s March helped people feel less alone and more unified after the aftermath of the presidential election. This march, and others, have inspired women to become more politically involved, whether it involves contacting members of Congress or running for political office.
An umbrella in one hand and holding her sign in another, a woman marches with an estimated 100,000 people on the the streets of San Francisco for the Women’s March on January 21, 2017. About a month before the election in November 2016, a 2005 recording of Trump making lewd comments about women was leaked. He brags that because he is a celebrity, he can “grab [women] by the pussy”, which is what the women’s sign references.
A young woman marches with other demonstrators at the People's Climate March in Oakland, CA on April 29, 2017, the 100th day of Trump's presidency. Thousands gathered to stand up for the protection of our environment, our health, and worker's rights. During his campaign and his presidency, Trump has called climate change a hoax, has pulled back restrictions for greenhouse gas emissions at power plants, and even signed an executive order that would expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
A young woman stands in the crowd, her backpack adorned with a "Nasty Woman" patch, at the People's Climate March on April 29, 2017 in Oakland, CA. During the third presidential debate, Donald Trump referred to Hillary Clinton as "such a nasty woman". The phrase went viral, with women across the nation reclaiming it as a rallying cry for women's rights.
In downtown San Francisco, CA on April 1, 2017, a woman attends the People's Filibuster, holding up her sign. Put on by the People's Defense, a grassroots organization that encourages Americans to use their voices to take a stand against the corruption occurring in the Trump administration, the People's Filibuster protested the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court.
A group of men and women, dressed in Ghosbuster’s costumes and donning “pussyhats”, take part in the April 15, 2017 Tax March in San Francisco, holding a sign supporting Planned Parenthood. Throughout his political career and before becoming vice president, Mike Pence has supported multiple bills that aim to defund Planned Parenthood. In March 2017, he broke a tie on a legislative bill that allows states to withhold federal funding to health care providers that provide abortion services, like Planned Parenthood. Despite this setback, Planned Parenthood has seen a huge spike in donations and volunteers since Trump won the presidency in November.
A woman holds her rain drenched sign, watching people head towards the Capitol during the March for Science in Washington DC on April 22, 2017. The March for Science took place in more than 600 cities worldwide, and was organized in order to call attention to the important role of science in our everyday lives, and to address Trump and his administrations views on climate change and science.
A woman carries her son on her shoulders as they march towards to Capitol during the March for Science in Washington DC on April 22, 2017.
A young woman stands outside the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), holding up a sign, during the March for Science in Washington DC on April 22, 2017. Scott Pruitt, Trump's appointed Administrator of the EPA, has publicly denied climate change and earlier this year stated that funds for the EPA would be cut by 31%. However, Congress’ recent budget compromise in early May 2017 showed only a minor impact on the EPA budget.
“Still I Rise” has become a popular slogan for protests that have been taking place since Trump’s election in November 2016. Used here at the Women’s March in Oakland, California on January 21, 2017, the slogan is taken from a poem in Maya Angelou’s 1978 Still I Rise book of poetry. It is about determination to rise above difficult times, to persevere in times of hardship and never give up hope. “Still I Rise” has become a battlecry for those in opposition to President Trump’s views and policies on things like women’s rights, the climate and environment, and foreign affairs.
Outside the Capitol lawn in Washington DC, a little girl stands in the rain during the March for Science on April 22, 2017. There is a gender gap in the amount of women participating in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) career fields, which researchers believe is partially because of gender stereotypes that are established during childhood. Because of this, there has been a development in special programs that allow young girls and women to pursue their interest in STEM related fields.