Professor Virginia Franklin, Associate Professor at St. Francis College and JHP Advisory Committee Member, wanted to share this inspiring film by German filmmaker, Tobias Kriele, The Power of the Weak, about one man’s journey through the free health and medical system in Cuba, as well as his political work to free the Cuban Five.

The Women’s Press Collective hosted a showing of the documentary The Power of the Weak at ​St. Francis on Monday April 18th. The film is a great look inside Cuba through the profile of a young man named Jorgito who, despite having severe cerebral palsy, completed his education through college and has his disorder well controlled, both made possible by Cuba’s free education and health systems.

On Tuesday. April 19th, Jorgito received a visa to visit the States, and was in New York Saturday throughMonday. The WPC had a second showing of The Power of the Weak and both Jorgito and Tobias Kriele were present for a post viewing discussion. Lisa Daniell, the head of Women’s Press Collective, made a special effort to reach out to People living with disability.

At this time of changing U.S.-Cuba relations, The Power of the Weak screening and discussion provides a unique opportunity for U.S. audiences to learn about some of the achievements of Cuban society. Jorgito, who was born with severe cerebral palsy, and his family, friends, doctors and teachers, describe the physical and academic accomplishments, social integration and political participation of a young disabled person in Cuban society through compelling personal interviews. The documentary provides a picture of the world-renowned Cuban medical and educational systems that persist through the country’s economic suffering.

Jorgito’s deep love for his country found expression through his participation in the campaign to free the Cuban Five ― five Cubans whose imprisonment in the U.S. for infiltrating anti-Cuban organizations in Miami engaged in attacks on Cuba was internationally criticized, generating a world-wide movement for their freedom. Recognizing the relationship of his own development to the development of the society in which he lives,

Jorgito states: ”Without Cuba and its history, I wouldn’t be Jorgito.”

Please contact The Women’s Press Collective at 718-222-0405 for future screenings of the film.

 

 

 

JHP Volunteer Voices: Looking Back at Photoville 2015

Looking Back on Photoville 2015

By Ariel Alyce Bornstein

As the chill of late October portends the winter frost, I’m looking back to a summery September Sunday, when I attended Brooklyn Bridge Park’s annual Photoville exhibition as a volunteer for the Josephine Herrick Project.

Being a new volunteer and a first-time Photoville goer, I felt slightly uncertain walking through the long rows of corrugated shipping containers, each one bursting with light and color from the displays set up inside. Upon reaching container #47, Maureen McNeil’s friendly face welcomed me into the booth, which was decked out in all things JHP.

On the left wall, tacked up with knobby magnets, a perfect grid of prints represented student works from JHP-lead programs. Facing opposite was a selection of professional works from several of JHP’s volunteer instructors. On the back wall of the much-deeper-than-it-looked container, an informational poster with Josephine Herrick’s formidable image held court between the two separate displays. The layout was very effective and almost seemed like an allusion to the charitable actions Josephine took towards bringing quality photography instruction to “communities without a voice”.

Settling in, I joined Maureen in providing info and insight on the foundation to the well-heeled hipsters, late-summer tourists and old school New Yorkers who browsed airily through the exhibits. It was inspiring to see the genuine interest visitors had in JHP’s mission! Many expressed a desire to learn more about the foundation and ways to become involved.

Throughout my volunteer shift, one particular student work continued to catch my eye and interest. Against a plain backdrop, a grey-weathered veteran peered up with a playful Mona Lisa smile, his bohemian beads unhidden from beneath the forest green work shirt that matched his military cap. His benevolent eyes trailed my movements in and around the container, reminding me of the servicemen who inspired Josephine to begin this project 75 years ago.

As the afternoon cooled, a gusty rain whooshed in from the water, bringing new spectators to our container. Herding them in, we brought their attention to the displays and showed off the glossy photo-books from past programs. The atmosphere was festive as rows filled up on the sign-in mailing list and piles of postcards flattened towards the table.

A brief lull in the rain brought my volunteering shift to an end. I returned to Manhattan feeling shiny and inspired by the kindness and incredible sincerity of our Photoville booth visitors.

Thank you so much to Maureen and the entire JHP team for giving me the opportunity to volunteer and report on such a remarkable event!

– Ariel Alyce is an NYC-based writer.

 

JHP Program Coordinator with dedicated teaching volunteers Susan and Romina.

Isadora, JHP volunteer videographer, standing and smiling with her Photoville print!

The participant wall at JHP. Photos shown here were captured during one of the 2014 JHP programs in the NYC community.