1. Today, Lilly Ledbetter (of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.and women’s rights activist) was a guest at the State of the Union. Earlier in the day, she and some lady senators hung out, and I took this photograph while they were joking with each other and remembering Pete Seeger. 

     

  2. "

    1. Kiss boys whose mouths taste like plums and liquorice
    take, but do not give
    do not surrender to the urge to fall

    2. Kiss girls who are silk beneath your hands
    swell around them until you become water logged, heaving

    3. Leave forest fires alone
    do not look for smoke, when your body starts to burn
    stay away from trees, get the hose

    4. You are not an apology
    do not treat yourself like one
    your lips are perfect for kissing
    your hips do not spell ‘sorry’

    5. The roar of your voice is a lightning storm
    This is why the sky excites you
    Because you were born from it

    6. They’ll tell you that you are ruined
    Don’t listen, you are not an abandoned train station
    you are poetry in motion

    7. There will be leaves in your hair from climbing trees
    and falling from them,
    Sometimes it is good to hurtle

    8. Loosen yourself into elastic
    the next time someone touches you
    remember: you are not an apology
    you belong solely to yourself.

    "
    — Azra.T “lessons” (via 5000letters)
     

  3. "

    I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, “Kiss me harder,” and “You’re a good person,” and, “You brighten my day.” I live my life as straight-forward as possible.

    Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.

    Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.

    But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.

    And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.

    We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.

    We never know when the bus is coming.

    "
     

  4. "leaving is not enough; you must
    stay gone. train your heart
    like a dog. change the locks
    even on the house he’s never
    visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
    you have an apartment
    just your size. a bathtub
    full of tea. a heart the size
    of Arizona, but not nearly
    so arid. don’t wish away
    your cracked past, your
    crooked toes, your problems
    are paper mache puppets
    you made or bought because the vendor
    at the market was so compelling you just
    had to have them. you had to have him.
    and you did. and now you pull down
    the bridge between your houses,
    you make him call before
    he visits, you take a lover
    for granted, you take
    a lover who looks at you
    like maybe you are magic. make
    the first bottle you consume
    in this place a relic. place it
    on whatever altar you fashion
    with a knife and five cranberries.
    don’t lose too much weight.
    stupid girls are always trying
    to disappear as revenge. and you
    are not stupid. you loved a man
    with more hands than a parade
    of beggars, and here you stand. heart
    like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
    heart leaking something so strong
    they can smell it in the street."
    — Marty McConnell, “Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell” (via larmoyante)
     
  5. mother and daughter

     
  6. At the ceremonial swearing-in of Senator elect Cory Booker, his niece Zelah Booker, 6, came to show support along with other member of his family. 

     
  7. americanguide:

    WEST VIRGINIA COAL FESTIVAL PAGEANT - MADISON, WEST VIRGINIA

    West Virginia is the most important bituminous coal-producing State in the Union. It leads not only in annual production and in extent of reserves, but also in quality of coal produced. Investigations by the State geological survey indicate that the total coal resources, three or more feet in seam thickness and recoverable under present methods, originally amounted to about 50,000,000,000 tons. 

    West Virginia, A Guide To the Mountain State (WPA, 1941)

    Editor’s note: A worthy companion piece to this photo essay is Lauren’s “Better Boone" project from Boone County, WV (where the pageant takes place). She asked students at the Christian Faith School what they would like to see in their communities in the next 1-5 years. They wrote and used collage to respond. Answers included "More coal miners to get their jobs back," "Wireless internet service everywhere," "Domestic Violence for Teenage Girls Counsel,” and two requests for a Taco Bell. 

    * * *

    Lauren Schneiderman is a photographer and visual journalist. She hopes her stories can bridge acceptance and cultural understanding. Lauren resides in Washington, DC, but spends much of her free time in southern West Virginia. Follow her on Tumblr at laurenschneiderman.tumblr.com, find more of her work in coal country at livingcoal.com and check out her portfolio at laurenschneiderman.com.

    My photographs from the West Virginia Coal Festival posted on The American Guide!! Check it out

     
  8. Coal Festival, West Virginia

     
  9.  
  10. The onlookers