Go To An Excerpt From One Woman's Story
For Corbis Images and The New York Times
Rachel entered Ground Zero on September 11 with a medical team and a group of rescue workers and followed them for a week. Her photographs appeared in The New York Times, a number of international publications, and several documentary films. They were also featured in the acclaimed book, Here Is New York, and were exhibited in the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. In 2006, as part of the exhibit "Here: Remembering 9/11," a life-sized image was displayed at the World Trade Center site in honor of the fifth anniversary of the attacks.
An Ongoing Project Funded By The Soros Foundation
In 2000, Rachel received an Independent Project Fellowship from the Soros Foundation to support an ongoing project that weaves text, photos, audio, and diaries, chronicling the journeys of women who have been incarcerated and have made the (often recurring) journey between prison and their families and communities outside. The initial project appeared as an eighteen-page story in the documentary magazine, Doubletake.
Since then, she has collaborated with nine women in creating "living scrapbooks" about their lives. Using letters, diaries, photos -- theirs and Rachel's -- video and audio recordings, they help us understand what their lives are like "from the inside." Over time, family members jumped in and began telling stories from their side, too.
Segments of the project and the DoubleTake article have been used in class curriculums in advanced Social Work and Criminal Justice programs. Rachel Is in the process of creating a multimedia version of their stories and also publishing a companion book.
Even Cow Girls Get the Sugarcone Blues
For the New York Times
It was Sunday morning in midspring at St. Lucy’s-St. Patrick’s Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The choir and the worshipers clapped, swayed and sang to the accompaniment of an organ that gives this tiny neighborhood church the air of a great cathedral. At the moment the last note was played, the organist, Andrea Fisher, leapt up and rushed out of the building.
Rushed describes Ms. Fisher to a T. She plays organ on Sundays and backup flute for a rapper in Madison Square Garden, owes $80,000 in loans for the Juilliard education she completed a few years ago, and is determined to secure a record deal — “hip-hop flute” — before summer’s end. And the reason for her abrupt exit from the church? "Yup," she explained. “I’m an ice cream man.” Keep Reading
Boston's River Man
For the NRDC OnEarth Magazine Podcast
“Boston’s River Man” is part of a series of podcasts and audio slideshows Rachel produced for the Natural Resources Defense Council. The theme is rooted in our current environmental crisis and her own persistent question of whether she, or any of us, can really make a difference.
Dan Driscoll spent 20 years restoring abused and forgotten corridors along Boston’s Charles River, creating habitat for wildlife and access for people. Each step was a lonely battle against short-sighted politicians, nimbyism and red tape. Now Dan’s about to do it all over again, this time with the Mystic River. Rachel visits Dan in Boston to find out why.
Lost in the Shuffle
For DoubleTake Magazine
My only experience of jail was what I had seen on television. I walked into the Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center, (P1CC), in July of 1998, thinking I would spend a couple of months hanging around the women's drug treatment unit between nine and five, photographing and talking with the women inmates, and then I'd have an answer to my question: Can a person really heal in jail? It took only a few weeks to realize that my approach was all wrong, and that a lot of what happened in jail was out of my reach. It happened after hours, happened in code, happened during the eleven precious minutes of daily allotted telephone time. It happened during the frequent, routine lockins, while women sat alone in the dark of their six-by-twelve-foot cells.
After a month of my visits, several women agreed to keep diaries and to share their personal writing with me. As we explored my question together, one by one, the women began to disappear. I realized that I'd landed in the right city and the right jail to tell this story. Keep Reading
Haiti's Dark Secret: The Restavecs
For NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday
A Collaboration with Photographer Gigi Cohen and the Child Labor Photo Project
Haiti, a nation of only eight million people, is home to some 300,000 restavecs -– young children who are frequently trafficked from the rural countryside to work as domestic servants in the poverty-stricken nation's urban areas.
Josiméne was seven years old when a broker came to her family in the mountains and, for a token sum and promises of an education, brought Josiméne to live with a family in Port Au Prince. She sleeps on the floor, is beaten, and almost never goes to school. Instead, Josiméne cares for two younger children, cleans the house, washes dishes, scrubs laundry by hand, runs errands and sells small items from the family's informal store. She has lived this way for over two years. It has been over six months since she has seen her family. As we accompany Josiméne on her first journey back to the mountains, the line between heroes and villains becomes unclear.