Erie Reader photojournalist Maitham Basha-Agha, along with photographer Erica Whiting, present Rust Belt New Americans. The culmination of a three month-long project, these rich, telling images are accompanied by detailed stories explaining the captivating journey each refugee embarked on, shedding light on Erie, Pennsylvania's diverse, vibrant refugee community.
Erie's population of new Americans has grown significantly in recent years, and is truly worth appreciating. With Rust Belt New Americans, Basha-Agha and Whiting have illustrated the stories that brought these individuals to our city from all around the globe.
As the worldwide refugee population reaches unprecedented levels, Erie continues to receive newcomers from the Congo, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and other war-torn countries, helping to offset a diminishing population and enriching our community with their culture and hard work.
More and more, refugees have become an important piece of the cities we all live in. In the face of new restrictive legislation, this issue is one that must remain at the forefront of the national conversation.
These are not just the faces of Erie or the Rust Belt, they are the faces of America. They must not be turned away, they must not be marginalized.