MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Men and women, young and old, boys and girls. They’re all different races, ethnicities and ages. Cindy McMillion wanted to talk to them all.
“Basically, I would just park my car in a neighborhood and walk around.”
She went to mosques, festivals, retirement homes and anywhere else she thought someone would be willing to share their story. She was armed with her camera and a few questions.
“What’s been a big challenge in your life and how did you deal with it? Or who’s had the most influence on you in your life or can you think of that your parents or grandparents told you that has stayed with you all of your life?”
The stories flowed and the pictures spoke volumes.
“People were so friendly and nice. I rarely got a no for an answer.”
Cindy said the stories she heard changed her and enriched her life. She wanted to share that with Memphis.
“Once I crossed some of those boundaries that I had not crossed before I realized oh my goodness there are so many people alike.”
Cindy connected with several of the people she met. She’s now friends with one mentor she met at Grizzlies Prep. She said she also keeps in touch with one young man who is a sophomore at Morehouse after a stint of homelessness his senior year in high school.
“It’s made me feel more accepting and more sympathetic. A lot less judgemental and I see people with a lot more kindness and interest than I used to.”
Over two years, Cindy interviewed and photographed almost 1,200 people for the project. The exhibit was whittled down to 50.
“And that hurt me,” she said. “It was very hard. It took me a long time and there were many it just killed me to leave out.”
You can still read the other stories on the Connecting Memphis website and their Facebook page.
“We all love, we all need people. We all have experiences, we all have griefs, we all have hopes.”
Cindy said she wanted to honor the image of God in every human being. It is that image that binds and connects us.