Stand Up

8 Young, Creative Voices on Why They're in the Opposition

On a recent (very rainy) Sunday evening, with Fashion Week in full swing, the fashion set turned out to the Penthouse of The Standard, East Village, not for a runway show, but for the launch of a book. The Opposition Book, a new visual volume by creative director, photographer, and stylist Juliann McCandless features conversations with a cross-section of young creative women and femmes who are unafraid to argue against the injustices they see pervading the country right now. 

The project, says LA-based McCandless, is aimed at helping “people feel comfortable having these conversations in their day-to-day life. It’s cool to just sit down and talk about issues.” Wearing sneakers and a shimmering, strapless blue dress, she worked the room, introducing activists and interviewees to each other, while guests viewed paintings and photographs by the New York-based Art Hoe collective and Grace Miceli, graphic tees and hoodies by Natto Franco, and a performance from Alexandra Marzella

A couple hours into the party, a group discussion about black women’s portrayals and positioning in both the media and society turned fiery. Youthful passion and protest filled the room, steaming the windows as rain continued to batter the city. 

We buttonholed eight of the young creative people in attendance to find out what’s driving them to speak up in the current political climate. 

Alexandra Marzella

"Fuck the wall. I’m engaged to a dreamer. It’s really scary that she can come here when she’s five years old, and she could be sent back at any point. There’s nothing for her back in Venezuela."

Monica Rojas

"Silence is death."

Khadijha Red Thunder

"Young kids get addicted to opioids through the pharmaceutical industry. In high school, kids were smoking pills and overdosing. There aren’t enough resources to deal with that addiction."

Hollie van Osenbruggen

"I’m an immigrant, I just had a baby. I wasn’t working and I had to use some public services to get through my pregnancy. Now the Trump administration is trying to use that against people when they go to get their green cards."

Jheyda McGarrell

"Net neutrality is what has allowed collectives to form, it’s what has allowed people to spread true information. The news is so biased. Net neutrality gives us the accessibility to see other people’s thoughts."

Emma Skillman

"A lot of people are scared right now to raise their voices—especially people who are immigrants. They could be deported. It’s important for us to stand up and speak even louder so those people don’t have to put themselves in jeopardy."

Victor Gonzalez

“Our president doesn’t believe that climate change is real. The glaciers are going away. Animals are going extinct. We should preserve our world. Where else could we go from here?”

Trey Taylor

"I elected to be here as a Canadian. I was drawn to this country because it was a place where people could be free to express their opinions. I can’t be safe in my newly adopted home. It’s wrong for people who are less privileged than I am to be shuffled off out of the country. To live in constant fear is not something we should have to live with in 2018."


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