As part of the #CareCantWait Day of Action two weeks ago, in partnership with our sister organizations the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Hand in Hand: the Domestic Employers Network, we staged a stunning exhibit on care and caregiving in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. The exhibit, called Communities of Care, celebrated care and collectively visioned what a more caring future can look like.
The exhibit was created by Paola Mendoza, an artist, filmmaker, and activist who has created and worked on many interactive care-related projects, including the “I Am A Child” protest and the Families Belong Together Campaign.
The exhibit, made up of 14 18-inch cube houses, depicted caregiving in all forms through beautiful and intimate portraits placed on each house. By interacting with a QR code on each house, participants could listen to audio stories, told by the people featured in the photos: older people and people with disabilities who receive care, family members who give care, and paid care workers who provide care.
Said Paola, “Telling the stories of care workers, family caregivers and the people they care for has allowed me to understand the essential role caregivers have in ensuring that our country is able to thrive. To be able to witness the intimacy, love and deep bond that can exist between these care squads is to see the power of care in action. My hope is with the photographs and the interviews the people of the United States and the politicians that represent us can not turn their backs on this vibrant, beautiful and much needed part of our society.”
The project honored caregivers, the people they care for, and the work and dedication that holds these intergenerational relationships together. Several participants in the project spoke at the larger #CareCantWait Day of Action, including our own Care Fellow, Allen Galeon, a family caregiver and paid care worker, who was featured in the exhibit with his mother, Sherri.
Communities of Care illuminates the essential caregiving that takes place in our homes and communities every day, but that often remains out of sight. The exhibit really gave participants a sense that care is beautiful, meaningful, and necessary – and that it is all around us – even though we might not see it behind closed doors. It encouraged all of us to imagine – what would our world be like if we could see care in action every day?