On My Radar: NYC Bridge Project & People Giving A Shit
– election reactions shared by flickr users
Hyperlocal election coverage and citizen journalism was at an all time high in the days leading up to and after this year’s historic presidential election. For many, this was an opportunity to document a part of history from their own perspective and to share it with the world through twitter feeds, blogs, and cellphone videos that were posted on the internet within minutes of the results.
Other citizen journalists had been preparing for the historic day and were anticipating the opportunity to put plans of content aggregation in action.
NYC Bridge Project co-founders Bashira Webb and Danny Peralta took their students to Harlem on November 4th to photograph local residents who were voting – many for the first time – and to record their stories for a multimedia project entitled “Election ’08: Voices of Harlem” that will soon be available to view on Current TV.
Webb and Peralta’s work culminates a year of collaborative effort between themselves, their students, and the International Center of Photography (ICP) who awarded the grant in early 2007. These Bronx residents were committed to teaching photography skills and providing mentorship opportunities to local youth who are desire to document their world, through their eyes.
On the morning of November 4th, Bridge Project students approached locals at 125th street who were on their way to the nearby polling station. Harlem residents were eager to participate and the group collected over 100 stories in a few hours, taking portraits as well as interviews with a donated video camera.The young people of Harlem were especially willing to share their newfound excitement for the election process. Gregorio, a student who was up at 6am to hit the polls, shared his experience on camera after placing his vote for Obama:
“Coming out of the booth… I don’t know – it was overwhelming. I had tears in my eyes. For the first time I felt like I’m voting for something I believe in, for someone I believe in – who I can relate to.”
The NYC Bridge Project members were in position at midnight in front of the Apollo Theater, capturing the joyous reactions of Harlem through photography and video. One piece of footage encapsulates the emotion of the evening – An energetic senior broke through the crowd, raised her arms triumphantly and shouted:
“I witnessed history today in Harlem! As an elder, I witnessed history!”
With memory cards filled with excited reactions from the center of Harlem, Webb and Peralta led their students through teeming crowds in order to use their equipment in Union Square where more celebration took place late into the night.