$35,000 raised for the ACLU! Can we make it to $50k?
Nearly seven months ago now, I published this photo essay of Dorothea Lange’s photographs of the U.S. Japanese imprisonment in 1942. I didn’t expect much to happen when I put it out in the world. My hope was that a few other people would find the images moving, and that these great photos that were lost for a period would find a new audience now in a time when it seemed particularly important to reflect on how we as a country have treated our own citizens and immigrants in the past.
Well, more than a few of you agreed—at least a million of you—and through your sharing on Facebook and Twitter, in discussion groups, in blogs, in classroom curricula, in newspapers and magazines, in museums and galleries, Dorothea Lange is finding a new audience and new relevance today as our country is facing another inflection point in how we treat our citizens and immigrants.
Along with the photo essay, I made some prints available for sale, with the proceeds going to benefit the ACLU and their work around the country defending civil liberties on the local and national levels. The ACLU has recently enjoyed a bit of a resurgence as well, and again, you are no small part of that. When I decided to sell these prints, I hoped to be able to donate a few hundred dollars. I’m humbled and excited to let you know that to date we’ve raised and donated over $35,000 to the ACLU through these print sales.
$35,000 raised so far
Your response has been overwhelming. You’ve emailed to share your thanks and encouragement, and your stories of friends and family that were affected by the Japanese imprisonment, including a few of you who found Lange’s pictures of your relatives through this project! I am very grateful for your stories and encouragement, and for your patience as I worked through the backlog of initial orders.
— 856k visitors viewed the essay over 1.1 million times so far
— Over $35,000 donated to the ACLU
— More than 1,400 prints shipped to date
— …to 17 countries around the world
— Trending on Facebook for 3 days
— 10 days waiting for more paper after buying out every seller I could find
— 1 new printer purchased to help meet demand
— Inspired a gallery show in New York
— Included in quite a few history curricula for schools and universities
Now I want to ask you for a bit more help
Raising $50,000 for the ACLU
The ACLU has already made some great progress, particularly related to fighting President Trump’s Muslim travel ban, and you probably heard the news just two days ago that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments for two cases related to the ban soon. I think we can help out a bit more.
There are still a few editions that haven’t yet sold out, and I want to see if we can get the donation to the ACLU up to $50,000. Some of my favorite photos are still available, like the great photo above of a student working on a watercolor painting in a class led by imprisoned University of California professor Chiura Obata.
You can help out by sharing your favorite photos online, by sharing the photo essay, and of course by ordering prints. Through the end of July, you can get free shipping on all orders shipped to the US.
New editions coming soon
Quite a few of you have asked if more prints will be made available of the sold-out editions. The short answer is no, these are limited editions, and they will sell out. But thanks to the success of the fundraiser, I’ve been able to visit the National Archives to make new scans of some of the more popular negatives, which will allow me to issue new, larger editions of some of the images soon. Look for more news about this project soon! The Fire Insurance Map Titles large prints are also currently on sale for 25% off, with free shipping, too!
On a personal note, I’m excited to announce that in early February, my wife gave birth to our first child, our daughter Celeste. It’s been an emotional and busy several months, and I’m grateful for your overwhelming support.
I’m humbled by the number of you who have found Dorothea Lange’s images as important as I have. It’s clear that the tide of racism and xenophobia that led to the Japanese concentration camps in 1942 is swelling again. I hope that seeing photographs from this shameful period in our history will remind us that we need to resist any violation of civil and human rights when it happens today.
- I shared a bit about the inspiration for this project in an interview for CODE magazine. Read the Q&A
- Visit the exhibition Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing at the Oakland Museum of California
- Browse the entire set of Dorothea Lange’s photographs on the Anchor Editions Flickr album
- Three great books to check out: