I was born, raised and still live in the suburbs of New York City. During a very rewarding 35-year career as a teacher of computer science and life sciences, I was also heavily involved in the New York State Teachers Union and a number of Social Justice/Civil & Human Rights issues. In the Teachers Union, which represents over 600,00 members and over 1,200 local unions, I was chair of their Civil & Human Rights Committee for over 15 years. I received the greatest honor of my life when in 2016 they created the annual “Ken Kurzweil Social Justice Recognition Award” which is awarded each year to local unions that support social justice causes throughout the year.
After retiring from teaching, photography quickly rose to become a very important passion of mine. Photography has brought me to places I never imagined I would travel and allowed me to get to know different cultures around the world. I had been looking for ways to incorporate my commitment to social justice with my photography when I discovered Photographers Without Borders. After participating in the PWB School program in Jodhpur, I felt that it was important for me to continue my work with PWB in one of their programs.
What makes you passionate about helping Turning Point (www.turningpoint.org.in)
Mental illness is a topic that is not understood by many people around the world. When it strikes, it is often not accepted by the family and the victim is stigmatized and often does not receive any treatment. The mentally ill become isolated and lose any confidence that they can be a part of normal society.
The Turning Point has a goal of rehabilitating mentally challenged people and through their many programs restoring them to mainstream life where they can become confident, self-dependent and productive individuals.
The work of Turning Pont is extremely important and information about their programs need to be seen by a larger audience.
How do you believe your photography can make a difference for them?
The stories about the programs and successes of Turning Point can be told in a very powerful way through photography. A photograph can often explain in a very impactful way what words often cannot. The power of the photograph can accomplish a great deal for Turning Point giving them resources that can be used for their publicity, fundraising and social media.
It is my goal to give this important non-profit organization tools that they can use to better achieve their goals.
What message would you like to send your supporters?
While the problems of the world may often seem too overwhelming to deal with, I have learned that ground level organizations which help people one-at-a-time are life-changing and often life-saving. The Turning Point is one such organization that helps people on a path of recovery and functionality from mental disabilities, often not understood or accepted in India. I am very fortunate to be able to help this non-profit organization through my photography.