The moment the state of Pennsylvania turned red, on election night, was the very moment I knew everything humane would crumble.
The first few days after the election, I was in such a state of shock. I could not talk to anyone, I could not teach my classes, and I broke down crying several times a day. I felt violated, very violated, as a woman. I was shocked that 45 became the "president," because the current politicians at the White House directly impacted so many oppressed individuals. The campaign, the election, and the new executive orders reeked of misogyny, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, and ableism.
The beautiful thing that came out of such an ugly time was a group of ladies I formed friendships with. To this day, I know we will be bonded forever from the traumatic shock we went through the first week and how we stuck together ever since. During that first week, we all connected through a group chat and agreed to a get together at a bar. We wanted to go to the Women's March in D.C., and I came up with the idea of doing a fundraising photo session where the funds would send a few other women with us to go to the March. Our idea of #roarnow was dreamed up over a couple of beers under a dimly lit canopy at a bar outside in Pleasanton, California. The concept of the photos was inspired by the NoH8 photographer, Adam Bouska. I wanted something simple yet powerful, especially when almost everyone was in a state of fragility. We know that a picture says a thousand words, now with the addition of a word or two across the chest, where feelings evoke, the photos became way more than just a thousand of words.
I honestly did not expect the project to go far, but the magazine Deaf Life, as well as a German magazine and the NPR station KQED, have published about #roarnow. Then Wisdo.com caught wind of the project and featured it, which led to UpWorthy sharing that video clip. Also, the photos were exhibited at three different galleries. I do hope for it to get more attention because it not only sends a message out there, it gives a voice to those who are oppressed. Also, those who participated in the project shared a common feeling, that it was cathartic for them when they participated.The project continues and will continue as long as humanity is challenged by such hatred. Since it went bigger than we planned (for the Women's March), we then have transferred all funds and will continue to donate 100% of funds to the Deaf Women of Color organization.
All the photos are posted on Instagram: roarfromtheheart with the hashtag of #roarnow, and all photos are done by me. I do this 100% voluntarily and will continue to do so. It takes only two minutes per person and is so easy to set up for a shot. I carry my camera, black sheets, and chalk ink markers everywhere I go now, in case a session I am doing makes a request for a #roarnow photo.
Clare Cassidy is a mother, teacher, activist, and photographer. Born deaf, alongside with her identical twin sister, they both grew up taking photos and making short films. Their love for photography is still very evident nowadays. Clare's first and foremost love of her life would be her three boys, of course her husband and her cats, too. Her three boys are what motivate Clare to pursue her dream to be a traveling photographer. She is always up for challenges, especially when it comes to creating artistic photos that create powerful statements. Her work can be seen here.
Words: Clare Cassidy