2017: j a n u a r y

2017 began in a busy way. I’m very grateful for the stories I’ve been able to dig into so far. 

The first story of the year was documenting The Ohio State Marching Band’s journey to the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix. ESPN asked photographer Michael F. McElroy to begin with the band in Columbus, Oh., and I took over when they touched town in Arizona. I got to spend a day with them hiking in Sedona before a week of grueling rehearsals, performances and parades. They snuck a lot of fun in there, too. I’m thankful for the band allowing me the access, and to ESPN for allowing me the time to get this right. Check out our finished piece, here — I even dusted off my reporter’s hat and wrote the intro.

My next assignment was a lesson in breaking news. From the story reported by Fernanda Santos for the New York Times: Nina Chaubal and her wife, Greta Martela, who run TransLifeline, which is a suicide hotline for transgender people,  “thought about going through the Rocky Mountains on their way to Chicago from San Diego late last month, but did not want to risk getting caught in a snowstorm. So they drove south through Arizona, where Ms. Chaubal, an Indian national with an invalid work visa, fell into the hands of the Border Patrol.” Fernanda’s story goes on to talk about the added fear of harassment and lack of medical care that trans women face when they’re detained and held by ICE or CBP.  We got word of Nina’s release and I drove to meet her and Greta as they reunited and made their way home after the ordeal. 

Fernanda Santos and I worked on another story together for my next assignment. We flew in a helicopter to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to Supai Village, the remote and beautiful home to the Havasupai people. There we reported on the school, Havasupai Elementary. From Fernanda’s reporting: “In the most recent evaluation made public, they tested at the first and third percentile, well below every other school on Indian reservations, already among the worst in the country. The abysmal test scores are highlighted in a federal lawsuit filed this month against the government by members of the Havasupai Tribe on behalf of nine students at the school. The tribe, a dwindling nation of 730, says the United States has reneged on its legal duty to educate their children by, among other things, allowing a janitor and a secretary to fill in for absent teachers, and by failing to provide special-education services and enough books for all students.” Read the entire piece here. 

Later in the month I continued working with Ebony and her three boys on a personal project that I haven’t shared a lot of images from yet. I’ll write more about this later :). For now I have a lot more photos to make.

At the end of January, I photographed the Womens March in Phoenix and other responses to the Inauguration and the first policies of Donald Trump, including his executive orders on immigration enforcement and refugees. 

This year sure looks like it will be interesting. I hope you’ll follow along.

Copyright © 2017 Caitlin O'Hara. All rights reserved.
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