Through my portrait series “Essentials” I’ve been photographing the women working in essential positions in Austin during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shelter-in-place order called for citizens to self-isolate—all citizens except those doing essential work. And so I settled in at home, vigilant to uphold the safety standards for my family and our community. But I couldn’t sit back without finding some way to safely recognize the courage and sacrifice of those who couldn’t stay home because their services were necessary to the health and safety of our community.Austin police officer Michelle Borton works on the Austin Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Street Team, a small group of police officers, behavorial health specialists, paramedics, and social workers addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the Austin area. Sarah Wilson
So many of these workers are women, often with children at home. Inspired by their perseverance and immense bravery, I’ve been taking portraits of these women and conducting phone interviews exploring their personal views, frontline stories, and individual perspectives on how to stay safe in our rapidly changing world.Emma Stanley, a 14-year veteran poll worker for Travis County, says she’s willing to risk her own health to ensure that she and others have the right to vote. Sarah Wilson
Read more from the Observer:
Texas Has Elected A Climate Change Denier to the Railroad Commission: Newly elected commissioner Jim Wright will be one of three people in charge of regulating the state’s oil and gas industry. He doesn’t believe that flaring contributes to climate change.
How We Got Here: Texas’ health system has been underfunded, understaffed, and unprepared for years. Here, COVID-19 found the perfect place to spread.
As Democrats Divebomb, the Texas Legislature Remains as White and Male as Ever: The legislative body’s makeup stands in stark contrast to the diverse state’s demographics.