The YWCA San Francisco & Marin provides low-income and disabled elderly residents an affordable place to live and thrive in one of America's most affluent cities. Most are monolingual woman from China (speaking only Mandarin or Cantonese), and the Chinatown location enables them to fulfill the cultural needs of everyday living.
In a time when issues of race, gender, healthcare and immigration are at the center of passionate discourse, the YWCA serves as a safe haven; residents are treated with the dignity they deserve in a stable and comfortable environment.
While volunteering to document the YWCA's mission of empowerment for women, I became friendly with the residents and staff. Many were reluctant to have their picture taken. Some were merely curious and agreed to sit for portraits. And still others generously invited me and my camera into their lives.
Their stories give voice to the common humanity we all share. They are stories of courageousness, resilience and, perhaps most of all, our obligation to care for each other.