Strengthening the Voices of Women in New Town: PhotoVoice Project

About

Strengthening the Voices of Women in New Town is a community-based empowermnet, advocacy and leadership initiative for low-income African-American women who live in the New Town community of North Jacksonville.

PhotoVoice, the methodology used in this initiative, is a grassroots process in which photography is used by regular citizens to enable them to act as recorders and potential catalysts for social action and change in their own communities.

The goal of this 18-month initiative is to strengthen the voices of women living in the New Town community age 20 and older who are pregnant, parents, grandparents or caregivers of children 0-5 years old. The project will suppor their efforst to:

  1. Identify the assets and challenges of living in New Town;
  2. Effectively communicate neighborhood concerns with possible solutions to New Town policymakers and community leaders
  3. Develop skills as New Town community advocates, change agents and leaders.

Six African-American women, ages 23 to 58 years old, were provided with cameras to capture and record their opinions and experiences (through photography and stories) living in New Town and raising young children. Their pictures relfect the strengths and concerns that they see in New Town.

The Strengthening the Voices of Women in New Town initiative is a collaboration between the Early Childhood Committee of the New Town Success Zone and the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women. It was supported by the generous contributions of the Women’s Giving Alliance, the Chartrand Foundation, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers and Theresa Graham of the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Art Walk — April 2011

The 10 community photographers from the Strengthening Voices project debuted their work at the April 2011 Jacksonville Art Walk.

The PhotoVoice Project allowed women New Town to act as recorders and potential catalysts for social action in their neighborhood through photography. Their pictures reflect the strengths and concerns they see in New Town.

Participants stood proudly by their photos, which were accompanied by personal narratives, and talked with visitors about their experiences throughout the process.