In Between Cultures Rama AlOmari was going to buy new clothes for her family in Syria with her two daughters Celin, 7, and Lamar Ibrahim, 8, when a bomb fell next to the family injuring them. Three years later, after being through the process of refugee she resides in the city of Santo Andre, in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, working at a mask factory for General Motors and living peacefully with the two girls. However, the cultural change is always a fact in the life of an immigrant, especially for her that comes from a culture full of traditions that are totally different from the Brazilian ones, which is really diverse and without any strict respect to social norms. On the other side, the girls have adapted really quick, making it difficult for AlOmari to maintain her tradition and keep the Islamic religion into their lives.
1- Rama AlOmari waits for her work’s private bus at a regular bus stop on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. AlOmari works at General Motors, in a mask production factory for all Latin America General Motors headquarters. She goes to work at 5 a.m.
2- Rama AlOmari makes her first pray before the sunrise at her home on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. AlOmari is from Damascus, Syria. Her family came to Brazil three and half years ago, in the middle of their current civil war, as a refugee. She still follows the Islam doctrine in her new home; however, her kids do not follow the religion as she does.
3- Rama AlOmari pours some homemade beans for dinner on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. AlOmari says she really likes to eat Brazilian food, but when she cooks, she still prefers to have Syrian food.
4- Rama AlOmari hugs her daughter Lamar Ibrahim, 8, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. AlOmari works the whole day, being only able to see her daughters and enjoy her free time with them at night.
5- Lamar Ibrahim, 8, runs up the stairs to grab some toys on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Her mother, Rama AlOmari, was constantly complaining that her daughters Lamar and Celin Ibrahim, 7, were making a mess.
6- The teacher Carina Aparecida Rosa, middle, helps the sisters Celin, 7, left, and Lamar Ibrahim, 8, right, on their daily homework on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Rosa helps by taking care of the sisters while their mother is at work. Rosa says that the girls are really obedient when doing their schoolwork.
7- Lamar Ibrahim, 8, reads a book for her mother to show how she has gotten better on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. When she was living in Syria a bomb fell right next to her, damaging her left eye and making her blind. Last year, she received a donation for a prosthesis for her left eye which she uses during the day.
8- A Bible lies right next to a Quran at Rama AlOmari’s home on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. AlOmari, a follower of Islamism, received this Bible from a friend who’s a Christian pastor. He left a written message inside saying, “For Rama For A New Life Following the Steps of The Master Jesus.”
9- Celin Ibrahim, 7, waits for her sister Lamar, 8, so they can play with their friend Yasmin Beatriz da Silva, 10, on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. The sisters spend their whole day at their teacher’s house and when they are not studying, they play with Da Silva, who is the granddaughter of their teacher.
10- Rama AlOmari looks at a new ornament at her house on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. AlOmari said that ornaments were really expensive in Syria, she was amazed by how cheap they are when she got in Brazil.
This project was hard for me since I had to transition from Columbia to my hometown in Brazil. I think I did a good job after, I never thought I would find a project in my city, which I can drive for 10 minutes to my character’s house without any traffic. That was an amazing thing to do and would love to do it again. About the project, I think there was a lack of situations that I photographed, like going to a mall or a friends’ house. However, because of the pandemic and because the family doesn’t have a lot of money, they stay in the house most of the weekends, which is when they would normally go out. I was not able to photograph at General motors and that broke my heart, the factory was fine with me going, but the communication department for them was not, they said that they didn’t want anyone there because of COVID-19, even though I wasn’t with a publication. Places were small and I think my photos show that. I challenged myself to this entire story with my fifty, I would always use a zoom lens, but I wanted to learn how to zoom with my own body. There was a lack of communication, I felt that sometimes Rama wouldn’t understand what I meant, she took a long time to respond to me most of the time, even though I knew she had read. Overall, I think I did well, I don’t think it’s worth publishing, but I spent the whole night on it, and I am happy with it.
I was a finally able to find a story after a long time of research and talking to organizations. I wasn't able to get an answer from any of the organization related to the COVID-19 assistance in the favelas. While I waited for answers, I decided to reach out to organizations that helped refugees and immigrants. My father reminded me that the chiropractor that he attends to does social work with refugees, and could put me in contact with some people that she knew, this is when I met Rama. She is a Syrian woman, mother of two girls, living a poor neighborhood in the city of Santo Andre, a suburb of the state of Sao Paulo where I'm from. The family came to Brazil 3 years ago after a bomb had hit their house, injuring the two kids, the oldest became blind of one eye and the youngest got a leg injury. Rama is divorced and her mother passed away I feel months ago. Since the pandemic hit, she has had issues finding a job and now works at a mask factory here in Sao Paulo. She has accepted to be in the project, and I was going to go to her house tonight for an interview and do some photos, but one of her coworkers got COVID-19 and she asked me to do it by phone. I've bought KN-95 masks and face shields that I can use to protect myself when doing this project. I am really excited about it.
By Leanne Tippett Mosby, Marco Postigo Storel and Alexandria Wells
The killing of George Floyd at the knee of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day 2020 sparked international outrage and protests. Protests have continued in a number of cities across the nation, including Columbia, as additional names have been added to the list of victims. In Columbia, protests have been organized by a number of groups, including the People’s Defense, Black Lives Matter, Mizzou students, and Faith Voices. Allied groups such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the John Brown Gun Club have also played a supporting role.
Although not the first, one of the most infamous incidents of police brutality against Black bodies to be captured on video occurred March 1991, as George Holliday filmed the savage beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department. Initially, none of the four officers involved were held accountable, sparking six days of riots in which 63 people were killed and thousands injured. Later, after a federal case, two of the officers served prison terms. This was perhaps the first police brutality incident captured on film that caused widespread awareness and protest. It would not be the last.
The ubiquitous nature of cell phone cameras has finally resulted in a reckoning for the nation. We can no longer pretend the problem of police violence against Black bodies does not exist. We have seen it with our own eyes. We have all witnessed the violence firsthand as Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Jacob Blake, and many, many more have experienced undue pain or death at the hands of those sworn to protect. Has this changed the decades-long fight. Will the new, readily available tools for recording misdeeds finally create the sustained outrage needed to compel real change?
In the following video we hear the perspectives of three, long time Columbia activists. Mary Ratliff, former State President and current President of the Columbia chapter of NAACP; Rev. C.W. Dawson, local minister and activist, and Jeff Stack with the Fellowship of Reconciliation talk about their own experiences with activism, what might be different now, and offer some words of encouragement and advice to the next generation of the movement to end racial injustice.
Multimedia Group Project Reflection
My part in the project was recording two of the three interviews and editing the entire video. I think I’ve done a good job with the video, not perfect. Some things I would correct now are the toning for some of the videos/photos and change a little bit of the audio volume of some interviews, in comparison to the music. We were not lucky with the time that we had, since there weren’t a lot of protests in Columbia, and we had to use older photos that we had from the Missourian archive, and our own photos. I think that the music helped with the flow of the story and the photos complemented the interviews that we had. I think that the choice of doing only a micro-doc was interesting, since we didn’t have many other aspects that helped the topic we chose. I can’t see doing anything else with this project other than this micro-doc. I’m a little bothered with the background noise of the outside interviews, but I used the de-noiser to minimize it, and it worked well. My idea was to make this video more journalistic, keep rough cuts which helps making a point about the topic. Overall, I think I did a good job, and the information we put in this video was really good.
Going to college is a big step in the life of a teenager. Having to make new friends, roommates, professors, starting classes, finding a job and all those rapid changes that freshmen have. However, the biggest adaptation students are demanded is the food. Most people in their first year at the University of Missouri have most of their meals at the dining halls where the variety of food is not great. The hunt for the best restaurants in Columbia starts after your first months at school, where you can get that nostalgic, idyllic, traditional and tasteful meals. Searching for something that gives you pleasures that you had before is what everyone wants. The diversity of restaurants and fast foods in Columbia are able to give those idyllic meals.
1- Adam Cole loves CJ’s barbecue sauce wings. Cole has tried chicken from many places in Columbia, however he has never had wings with the same amount of sauce and crunchiness as these have, a perfect seasoning he says.
2- Snacks from Lee’s Market give nostalgia to Ana Hosomi. When she was younger, Hosomi and her family would drive from her hometown, Limeira in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, to the state capital with the same name. They would go to a traditional neighborhood called Liberdade, where the biggest Japanese community in Brazil resides, and buy these kinds of Japanese sweets to take home.
3- Every time Adam Jackson eats penang curry from Chim’s Thai Kitchen he gets full before finishing. “Sometimes I feel homesick. This is probably the closest I can get to Indonesian rendang (curry) without bothering my family to ship me ingredients,” Jackson said. “I’d feel confidant putting mine up against any other.”
4-Karen Kunzel says that Sunshine Sushi makes her remember going out for Japanese food with her family. The place at the University of Missouri student center has her favorite salmon and avocado sushi, which for her is quick to pick up before going to work.
5- The first pizza place Mariana Labbate went with her first college friends was Shakespeare’s. Labbate, a stranger to the city and the University of Missouri, was advised to go the restaurant while attending an event of the International Welcome week. Nowadays, every time she goes to Shakespeare’s she remembers her first week in Missouri.
My project on idyllic food in Columbia became more of a personal essay. I decided to use University of Missouri students so I can show my hunt for the idyllic meals in Columbia, Missouri. Food has always been part of my life, since I was a kid cooking or going out to eat is an especial occasion. On the technical side I think I did really well, my focus was to get high key lighting in the studio so that the food and the faces could shine. On the postproduction, I really wanted contrast and saturation in photos, which I did go a little high with these two. I chose to crop the photos 7x6 because I wanted to the viewer to focus on the actions done by the subjects and the food. One thing I was not happy about with this project is the diversity of subjects, I tried to contact a huge group of people, but the times didn’t match, and I ended hup having more diversity of food. Overall, I was happy with only three of the five pictures chosen, I felt that if I had more time, I could do something better. I love working in the studio and this project helped me a lot with the necessary skills for it. I think I was able to reach the theme of Columbia Idyllic foods with the technical side, however I didn’t have a good variety of subjects.
Our multimedia project on veterans on BLM project is going really well. The idea is to make a website a mix text, video clips, photos and graphs to talk about their story, how it changed over the years and their advice for the present and future generations.
We already talked to Mary Ratliff and Jeff Stack, which were two great interviews. The first question was just to introduce themselves and they almost answered all of the questions we with that. I had a feeling that the activists, because of their passion for social justice, they would talk about it nonstop, making the first question last for almost 40 minutes.
The information that the two gave us was impressive, and helped a lot with insight for our text portion. Our next person to interview is going to be Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson, which is going to be a zoom, interview today, and we thought of asking him to record video of himself while doing it, making the quality better.
Overall, I think we are in a good direction, however we haven't had many time to gather photos and make the website.
For my capstone class I'm doing a photographical essay on the word Idyllic. My project is focused on the part of the definition that says that an idyllic experience is extremely pleasant. The first idea that came to my mind was to do something with food.
My project is a series of portraits of people having meals or snacks that they really like. Since my word is idyllic, I'm using high key light and crazy colors for the background, that said, I decided to use the studio so I can control the light that I use and make it look idyllic.
I consider this a personal project since food is a big part of my life; I love to cook, eat and even watch food shows. Since I was a kid I remember helping my mom in the kitchen and I miss my mom's Paella, that said, food is always somethings I enjoy and I think most people do as well.
I am trying to get the a lot of people to participate, and a diverse group. I've been asking friends and friends of friends to participate, so I can get a good amount of photos to narrow down to a small edit.
I've taken pictures of only 4 people. In the end I'm going to choose only one picture of each person.
Overall, I think I've done really good progress and hope to just get better.
Marco Postigo Storel, Alexandria Wells, Leanne Tippett Mosby
September 30, 2020
Topic: children of the racial justice protests
After our class discussion indicating our original idea of incorporating stills with video would be too much, we have scaled our project down to trying to find three children of varying ages to conduct a video interview.
We have obtained permission from one parent, Kelsey Smythe, to interview her son Cormack, 6, (pictured below) and stepdaughter, Bella, 10. We are still in the process of trying to find a date and meeting place to conduct the interviews.
We have also reached out 1.) by email to The People’s Defense, which is the group that protested nightly over the summer and recently held their 100th protest (which was covered by the Missourian); and, 2.) to one of the founders of the People’s Defense, Roy Lovelady. These contacts have not yet produced a response.
Bassett, who said she does not have her contact information, but would try to obtain it from others. We have also reached out to the WE Project, who also did not have her information.
We will make further attempts this week to make contacts. If these contacts continue to prove unfruitful, we may consider pivoting to a new project. We are considering doing something similar, but instead of younger protesters, seek out older protesters – i.e., long time Columbia, Missouri activists, and ask them their perspectives on if and how these protests have been different than in the past. Examples include Jeff Stack (Fellowship of Reconciliation), Mark Haim (Peaceworks), and Mary Ratliff (President of CoMo NAACP and former state president); and C.W. Dawson, minister/activist.
We are also attempting to contact a 14-year old who spoke at a protest in Jefferson City, and later at the Quad. We have asked one of the organizers of the Jefferson City protest, Kiessance
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, nursing homes and hospices have been closed for public visiting. This situation was not different for Jerry Bruggeman, a family doctor, who has his work focused on these places. Nowadays, when he is working, he spends his time in the office doing telemedicine via Zoom, having meetings with the senior care administration and going through emails, a huge change for a doctor. Bruggeman always had the passion for biking as well, and since the pandemic has made his work more difficult, riding has become kind of a relief valve from his stressful work. Several days of the week, when he is done with work at the office, he goes for long rides of almost 50 miles, and according to Bruggeman this helps him a lot not only with fitness but mainly mentally. Since he doesn’t like to race, bike packing and touring tuned out to be a passion, and he has plans to ride to Kansas with his friend Brad Beand ride the entire Katy Trail, since his work has become all online and he doesn’t have any problem with taking a call while up on the bike.
Jerry Bruggeman rides his bike at Bur Oak Rd., near the the Katy Trail, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Huntsdale, Missouri. Bruggeman rides his bike several days a week as a way to de-stress from his work as a doctor.
Jerry Bruggeman works in his office on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Columbia, Missouri. Bruggeman works as a family doctor, going to nursing homes and hospices. However, since the pandemic started, he hasn’t been to go to these places, and has done telemedicine appointments through zoom.
Jerry Bruggeman rides his bike at Bur Oak Rd., on the way to McBaine, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Huntsdale, Missouri. Bruggeman usually does long rides of almost 50 miles, which helps maintain his love for bike packing and touring.
Jerry Bruggeman puts on his mask to leave his office on Friday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Columbia, Missouri. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Bruggeman’s work hours have varied a lot considering that his work is specialized in senior services. He usually goes to his office only for telemedicine appointments or meetings, otherwise he is biking or with his family.
Jerry Bruggeman pauses his ride to talk to his friend Brad Beaird at the MKT Trail, near the Jay Dix Station, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Columbia, Missouri. Beaird has a YouTube channel that talks about bikes and bike packing. Many times, Bruggeman has been recognized by subscribers while riding because he is always on the channel, but mainly because of the squeaky chicken called Javier that he carries on the bike.
Jerry Bruggeman bikes at MKT Trail, on the bridge over the Perche Creek, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Columbia, Missouri. Because of his flexible schedule, Bruggeman has always his headphones on to answer work phone calls if necessary, while riding his bike.
I think that my work for this assignment was good. It wasn’t something worth of a POY award, but I think I was able to show my subject’s personality and represent how he feels about what he does. I did my shoot in two days, and my first day was boring since it was just him working inside of his office, I knew I had to be creative to show that in an interesting way. However, my second day was insane. I love biking and I would do that almost every day but biking and photographing got me really tired. Throughout the ride, I was always trying to go the faster so I could stop at a good spot, take my camera out of my backpack and shoot some frames while he was coming at my direction, then grab everything and bike until I reached him again, I did this like 5 times, and in the end rode like 30 miles, 2 more than I regularly do on the same route, so it was not that bad but made me tired. Two things that I think should have done better are more creative shots and a variation of lenses, mainly wide ones. I feel like I missed a good low angle shot of him biking, with maybe a 14mm or a 16 mm, I think that would have helped a lot with the contrast between office and outside biking. Overall, I think I’ve done a good job and can’t wait to show some of the photos to my subject.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to photograph Jerry Bruggeman, the person I'm doing my project on. On Friday night, Jerry rode his bike for almost 200 miles to raise awareness to pediatric cancer. I wasn't able to follow him on this ride because Friday Night Sights was happening and I had to cover for two photographers, making me photograph and edit. Mr. Bruggeman is a really interesting subject because he works in the administrative part of health care, which he says that nowadays it has been really stressful, he uses bike rides to de-stress and says that without it his body doesn't function correctly, the relief helps him a lot. I think Jerry hasn't understood my purpose with the story, and if this doesn't work I have another person with the same situation. I just hope I can finish this.
Video Reflection: When I first watched this video, I was surprised of how diverse it is. The video crew was able to reach different areas of society, in different areas of the Midwest. Starting with Bailey Stover, talking about her pandemic diary, gave a great introduction to the video, telling the audience what we are going to watch. Inserting its parts among the stories of the other characters was really intelligent, it reflected on what they were talking about. The video mainly focuses on what the seniors are missing out from their last year in High School, like prom, graduation, decision day and final presentations/games. It's not only diverse in relation to social issues, but also in topics related to senior year. Overall, I really loved Unfulfilled, it is really a fair representation of what the seniors are suffering. My only issue, as a photojournalism student, was the dirty lens in some of the shots. However, this isn't bigger than what this video represents.