Earlier this month, Manhattan District Attorney Vance and NYC Police Commissioner Kelly announced that more than sixty members of gangs had been indicted, pulling dangerous people off the streets and out of public housing.
“This is a huge step forward in ensuring the safety and security of the thousands of children, seniors and families that live in our developments,” said Cecil House, NYCHA General Manager. “As part of Plan NYCHA, our strategic roadmap for providing safe and secure housing, NYCHA has been working to create neighborhoods where residents, employees and their visitors can feel safe.”
Public housing has long come with a stigma attached—one that convinces people that pubic housing is chock full of criminals, drug addicts, and low-lifes. But in truth, most public housing residents couldn’t be farther from criminals—instead, they are a diverse set of people rich in character, work-ethic and history.
Two previous residents of NYCHA public housing developments, Rico Washington and Shino Yanagawa, are out to tell the stories of real NYCHA residents. Their project, We the People: The Citizens of NYCHA in Photos + Words challenges stereotypical views of public housing developments by taking a close-up look at fifty different NYCHA residents.
“We the People is a testament to those who have weathered the storms from urban blight to urban renewal,” reads the project’s website. “Through these collected stories, a genuine document of the marginalized and the maligned emerges.”
Rico Washington is a journalist who has interviewed celebrities like Chris Rock and Bernie Mac. He has contributed to several print and digital publications, and has worked with musicians composing bios and CD liner notes. Originally from Washington, D.C., he now lives in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. His project partner, Shino Yanagawa, is a photographer and Tokyo native. She has published photos on several notable publications, and has worked with subjects like Beyoncé and Wyclef Jean.