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Freedom '17
       
     
  Cookie Paloma and Renee De Jesus were in middle school in the Bay Area, California in the 1990s, a time when the schools they attended and neighborhoods they hung out in were predominantly low income, Latino and overflowing with gang culture. Both Cookie and Renee were repeatedly harassed and threatened for being a “Gringa.” As youth they were afraid and angry. “I’m no Gringa!” Cookie recalls yelling angrily at throngs of gangsters. But words were not enough. The best way Cookie and Renee could survive was to make their Latina heritages visible, which in this time and place translated into becoming gangsters. Becoming what they self describe as “gangsters” was not only a strategy for survival but it was also a way for them to visually represent Latina, to assert family history, in Cookie’s case a history that involves migrant Mexican farmers struggling to survive and cultural assimilation that came in the form of embodied white-washing. Today Cookie and Renee no longer regularly identify as gangsters but rather they are both successful working professionals, but their relationships to their formative teenage years spent as Cholas are still integral to who they are. Through  Gangsters Revisited  they explore the gangster parts of themselves from a safe distance.
       
     
  I would rather be with her than anywhere else in the world. I want to protect her from everything past present and future. She means more to me than I can ever explain to you, so much that I am compelled to try.     Love Ethic  is an on going project about my partner, Libby. It is a portrait of her through my queer/trans/non-binary gaze and it is an exploration in making pictures about her double illegibility; Libby is a Mexican-American, queer, Femme and often mistaken in daily life as being white and straight.
       
     
 I grew up in a series of small towns in the Hudson River Valley region of New York. My parents bought their first home when I was in Middle school. My parents and I lived on one half and they rented out the other half. Since I've moved out, the last tenant also left and instead of finding new tenants my mom slowly moved in to the other half of the house. The division of the house and the decay that the structure began to undergo over the last fifteen years has become a visual symbol of my parents crumbling marriage, struggle to try and stay in the middle class and battles with addiction. 
       
     
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