Sarah-Ji describes herself as “a queer Korean mama, organizer, and photographer who has been documenting freedom struggles” in Chicago since 2010. Her lens often captures what mainstream media cannot and will not.
“I believe that creating this visual repository of resistance is an important part of movement building,” she said in a recent interview with the Weekly. “We need to remember that people have been resisting before us and people will continue resisting after us.”
Sarah-Ji is intentional about focusing her work on everyday people engaged in building movements toward decarceration and community control of resources. She hopes that these images of resistance and reimagination—of Chicagoans protesting police brutality, ICE raids, public school closures, and displacement—will plant seeds in others to join in the work of collective liberation.
“Reminding ourselves of the times we’ve struggled and won—the South Side now has a trauma center, Dyett High School remains open, and more and more people are calling for defunding the police and investing in communities instead—can help us to remain in the struggle for the long haul and to bring others to join us,” she said.
Sarah-Ji is a member of Love & Protect, which supports women and gender non-conforming/non-binary people of color who have been criminalized or harmed by state or interpersonal violence, and a member of For the People Artists Collective.
Sarah-Ji’s work can be found on view at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum at UIC, 800 S. Halsted, in its exhibit “True Peace: the Presence of Justice,” open through May 31; online at loveandstrugglephotos.com; and on Instagram at @loveandstrugglephotos
Jacqueline Serrato is editor-in-chief of the Weekly. She last wrote in February about how and why Chicago is losing its Black population.