7 CARMELITA 3396 smallerThe Second Annual Festival of Belonging returns to Santa Rosa on September 13th and 14th.  With artful image and thought-provoking conversation, this year's Festival focuses on homelessness and how it affects the community as a whole.  The Festival is a free community event – all are welcome.  Events will be hosted by the Santa Rosa Unitarian Universalist Congregation Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa. Festival organizer, Gillian Haley, said the two-day event is meant to inspire people to action, "With the many social crises facing our nation it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and fearful like we are powerless in the face of it all," 

Kathleen Finigan, of Homeless Action!, helped produce a photography exhibit called FACES for the festival. Here's how she describes that project:

Homelessness in Sonoma County is a major issue and public perception of such individuals has been unfortunately skewed by many factors. As a consequence, vulnerable human beings have been dehumanized, criminalized and consistently stripped of their dignity and human rights.

FACES is a series of 40 close-up images of some of our unsheltered friends and neighbors in Santa Rosa. This vibrant collection was created by Santa Rosa photographer extraordinaire Salvador "Pocho" Sanchez-Strawbridge. These portraits of dignity in the face of adversity reflect the humanity of people experiencing homelessness who fully deserve our respect, compassion and dedicated assistance.

On Friday, 9/13, 5-7pm,  Homeless Action! and Justicewise will present the opening reception for FACES. The FACES project is sponsored by the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights.

Men and women living on the street were asked the following question: What would you like to say to the world? Here's what they said.
Click the small picture to start a slideshow of a selection of photos from the FACES exhibit. Advance to the next image with the arrow at right or your computer's arrow key. You can also set the slideshow to advance automatically. You can view photos at full screen with the slideshow controls.

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