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Archive for January, 2011

Finding Hope in Germantown

After Philadelphia accumulated over a foot of snow last week, I ventured into Germantown with my fellow blogger Emily to uncover images of hope. Starting only about a mile away from our community at La Salle, we trekked south on Germantown Avenue for over an hour. The images in this post show the hope that Germantown residents have for their community.
 Since I don’t live in Germantown, I took pictures of  symbols of hope that the residents have in their community and related them to experiences in my life that I have perceived as hopeful. 
Don’t worry, I asked everyone in Germantown if I could borrow their hope for this blog, and they said that’s fine; as long I return it within three business days. Haha.
All photos were taken with my Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 and optimized in Photoshop.
Finding Hope in Each Other

"Walking Together"


We found this mural painted on the side of the Neighborhood Interfaith Movement (NIM) building.  The organization aims to unify all residents of the area, regardless of race or creed. This mural includes different languages, religions, ethnicities and ages. Entitled “Walking Together,” this mural was created by two local men, Paul Downie and David Woods in dedication to community activist and NIM leader Elaine Dushoff. The sight of the bright colors against the fresh snow was striking.

In the summer of 2008 I lived in Tanzania, which is on the eastern coast of Africa, for five weeks.  I can relate that experience to the topic of hope in almost any way, but I’ll keep it broad. I had never heard of NIM before taking this picture, but it’s message is that poeple, regardless of differences, need to come together for a common purpose. In this case, that purpose is the improvement of Germantown. In Africa, I stayed in a hostel that housed people from literally all over the world.

While I was part of a La Sallian service trip that included teaching English to street children (the American equivalent would be an orphan), every other guest that was staying in the hostel was there for a different cause: clean water, nutrition, war crimes, human trafficking. I met people who represented issues that I had never even heard of. I like to remember the diversity of that hostel as  proof that humans are innately good, and will travel to help fellow humans in need.

It’s corny, I know. But I’m sure that the artists of this mural, David Woods and Paul Downie, whoever they are, would agree.   

  The picture is 1000 x 750 pixels and the resolution is 314 pixels per inch.


Finding Hope in Our Country
Germantown reaches out to provide services for our veterans

 In a relatively busy and commercial section of Germantown Avenue, a chiropracter was advertising free appointments for veterans. I saw it as a symbol of hope because the practice was putting the needs of others before their monetary gain. It also made me think of the recession America is experiencing and how it has caused money to dictate people’s lives. Those in the military, however, go to work everyday and fight not only for their salary but for the freedom that everyone in this country is entitled too. 


 While driving to school during the 2008 presidential election, I heard a talk radio show asking for people’s opinions on current issues. One listener called in and expressed some very negative views about America today. The first caller to respond was the mother of a soldier who said, “It’s okay that people chose to talk like that about America; it is their constitutional right to do so, and  my son will still risk his life so that they always have that right.” That is an amazing example that hope is alive in America; no matter who you are or what you believe in -we will protect your right to do just that.


Fast forward three years later, when I walk past this sign and post it on this blog as a symbol of hope. I don’t know if that chiropracter has any personal ties with the military or if he was just generous. Either way, I saw it as an huge gesture of appreciation for the troops, right here in Germantown.


The photo, of the advertisement that was posted on the window, is 2000 by 1500 pixels and the resolution is 314  pixels per inch.


 Finding Hope in the Future

Looking in on the Free Library on Germantown Avenue
When we got to the Free Library, it was easy to see that this is a place full of symbols of hope for the Germantown community. Although it was closed when we arrived, we wanted to try and get a good shot of some of the messages that hung on signs above the children’s section. 
Since we were literally (and figuratively) on the outside looking in, I wasn’t sure if it would be a usable shot. However, the picture shows the poster in the library with the famous Martin Luther King quote, while the light reflects the image of Germantown Avenue.
Interestingly, the street signs outside caused a reflections of a cross in the poster. The sign on the door of the library read “closed due to lack of heat.”
 There are many ways to interpret this photo, but my first reaction was that although the library can’t afford to be open today, it is there and always will be. The legacy of Dr. King is that his memory still has the ability to inspire people to hope for a better future. He fought hard for what is right and today we cannot imagine a world without Civil Rights.
 Essentially, his dream is now our reality, and if that isn’t an enduring example of hope, then I’m not sure what is.
This picture is 2000 x 1500 pixels and the resolution is 314 pixels per inch

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