“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” reads Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” at the base of the Statue of Liberty. So many people coming to America hang their hopes on those lines and, more crucially, on the bedrock of our Constitution and particularly our Bill of Rights. But under the Trump administration, many minority groups, be they ethnic or sexual, feel less welcomed in 2018 and many are having their rights violated. There is a pervasive and founded fear that social gains can be reversed, rights rescinded.
Be Visible, Be Counted, or BVBC, is a body of work created by Tommy Wu as a response to these timely concerns to help amplify the voices of the disenfranchised. The project’s purpose is to boost the signals of people who otherwise might stay invisible or silent so they can join the national dialogue on pertinent social issues and promote empathy and understanding. As a gay man and a former refugee from Vietnam, focusing on LGBTQI and other minority communities is important to me. The BVBC project aims, through photographs, videos, personalized stories, and planned events, to give many people “breathing room” and space for telling their stories in the national debate about equality.