Dear World illustrates stories through photos


Photo by Nyia Curtis

Students from AACC participate in the Dear World photo shoot in April.

Elizabeth Spearman , Campus Life Editor

AACC hosted photo-storytelling project Dear World on April 10 and 11.

Students, faculty and staff had a chance to answer the one question Dear World asks, “If you had one story to share with the world, what would you say?”

Participants wrote the answers to those questions on each other’s bare skin, and then posed for pictures.

Dear World played out in three parts throughout the two days. The first part took place on April 10, when 31 volunteers participated in a VIP shoot.

“My message was ‘39th,’” said second-year student Martine Parode. “I placed 39th in an Irish dance competition back in July. It just felt really good to place that high, even though I did not qualify for the world championship.”

The second part of the project was on April 11. Students, faculty and staff had the chance to share their personal stories with their peers.

Stories ranged from tales of fighting depression to overcoming abuse and breaking down many different stereotypes.

“My message was, ‘Muslim does not equal terrorism,’” Madison King, a third-year student said. “I am half Middle Eastern, half Iranian. Almost all of my family is Muslim. I always get questioned [about] if they are terrorists or not, and I just get crazy questions, and I want it to stop. Not every Muslim is a terrorist,” King explained.

King said she enjoyed the Dear World experience and is “glad that I have my message out there.”

Heather Harrington, an office manager for the School of Business and Law, explained that having to put her message out there was “very hard.”

Her message was, “Love shouldn’t hurt.” She explained that she had to learn what love really was after being in an abusive marriage.

“It was very hard because most people don’t know that I was abused; I don’t make it a habit of telling people I was abused,” Harrington explained. “So it was very difficult but I feel it was necessary.”

The third and final part of Dear World was a storytelling event that took place on that same evening.

Fresh Johnson, Dear World’s photographer, led the event. Throughout the night, she shared some of her favorite projects she has worked on with Dear World.

“My favorite part of my job is hearing people’s stories,” Johnson said. “No matter how young or old they are, everyone has something to say and it is all unique.”

The evening also gave five students the opportunity to share their full stories with an audience.