Garden City, KS
Population 27,000, 43 percent white. Top of the nation for teenage pregnancy — 63 percent highschool graduation rate. In the educational system, only 23 percent of students are white. Minority-majority at its fullest for a small town in Kansas. Hispanics, Southeast Asians, Somalians, Burmese, Ethiopians. Migrant and immigrant workers and school children. Twenty-one different languages spoken, written on signs, announced over intercoms.
Garden City on paper has a seemingly bad rap sheet, but it cultured me, it hardened me; it prepared me for the rest of the world in a way no institution could ever do. Growing up in Garden City I only thought about it as a dirty, little town with nothing to offer. It's only after I left that I realized how much I have benefited from living in one of the most unique places in Southwest Kansas.
It was a wonderful and beautiful place to have grown up. I have been and still am photographing a place I am proud to call my hometown. Garden City is the very reason I turned out the way that I am — the reason I am so grateful for the hardships I've gone through. It made me humble, made me proud of who I am as a minority, and as a breathing human being.
Garden City never hid the world from me, it showed me my reality.