The day I met little Daniel the sky was filled with beautiful summer clouds. The sun was shining, and the sky was blue, but the clouds littered the sky. In Los Angeles, where I now live, you don't see clouds like this, so I always admire them when I do. Even though aesthetically it was a lovely day I started the day filled with concerns. It was my second time traveling to Delaware for my personal book project, Future American President, and I was nervous about finding a family to photograph.
I’d traveled to Delaware the year before but had difficulty in finding a family for the project. I thought back to that trip and remembered how things had all gone wrong. I remembered going to a park and seeing a large group of people that looked like they were headed to a BBQ. As I watched the people headed to the same picnic area I was amazed at the diversity within the group. The group had Caucasian, African-American, Asian and Hispanic, all mixing together. Seeing this group make me smile because you just don't see cultures mixing in this way. I wondered if it was an office bbq, but it didn't seem like a work event. Everyone seemed too relaxed and they appeared to really be friends.
I decided this would be the perfect group to approach because they were the essence of diversity. I envisioned this large group standing with the youngest child in the group being featured in front. I introduced myself to a group of woman, each from a different ethnic background and asked if I could speak with them. I started talking about my project and how impressed I was seeing this group with such diversity. Their eyes lit up and they smiled as I spoke. Then I told them the name of my project, Future American President, and the theme of inspiring children all over American to dream big, and t I felt the energy change. Their faces went from smiles to blank expressions, and as I continued to talk I wondered what was wrong. When I finished my soliloquy, one of the woman said, it sounds like a noble project, but we are Jehovah's Witness and we don't believe in politics, so no Jehovah's Witness will ever become President. I was in a state of shock but thanked them for their time and decided to come back to Delaware another day.
A year later I found myself back in Delaware trying to find the perfect family...again. I had a good friend, Kumiko Norrell, who volunteered to help me and accompanied me on the trip. I’d flown into Maryland, where she and her husband lived at the time and picked her up early that morning before making the drive to Delaware. The first spot we found, though beautiful, lacked families with children so we left and found another park. Right away, I noticed a young couple with a little boy. The mother looked to be Hispanic and the father looked Caucasian. I decided to approach them and went to speak with the father. As I told him about the project I showed him images of other children and families from around the country. He loved the idea and his wife, who was by his side as I spoke, also love the project and said they would love to have their son featured in the book.
To hear more about this story join me for the launch of my new podcast starting in the next two weeks.