What Will Happen to Me? Portraits of Children With Incarcerated Parents by Howard Zehr

An exhibit featuring Howard Zehr's photo-portraits of the children of incarcerated Americans will be at Minneapolis Central Library June 5-July 27. The photos originally appeared in Zehr's book "What Will Happen to Me?" that he co-authored with Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz.

"I have been a serious photographer for many years. One of my favorite uses of the medium is to build bridges between people, to help bring visibility and voice to people who are on the margins. Too often photography has served to 'other' people – to show them as different than us, and thus deserving of disrespect and even violence. Done respectfully and thoughtfully, I believe photography can help to reduce our tendencies to divide and to 'other.'

In earlier projects, I shared the experiences of life-sentenced prisoners and of victims of crime through photographic portraits and interviews. For this project, I focused on children whose parents are in prison. According to a recent estimate by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 5-6 million children in the U.S. are estimated to have one or both parents in prison.

In this project focused on children of imprisoned parents, our goal was to personalize these children by showing their faces and hearing their voices. We hoped to raise general awareness of their situation but more specifically, we wanted to provide some insight to those who care for them on a daily basis: grandparents, teachers, social workers. We have been pleased to hear that other children with parents in prison also have found the insights helpful." — Howard Zehr, Distinguished Professor of Restorative Justice, Eastern Mennonite University

Zehr will discuss families, incarceration and restorative justice on Wednesday, June 14, 7 to 8 p.m. in Pohlad Hall at Minneapolis Central Library. An opening reception will follow the program in the library's Cargill Gallery from 8 to 9 p.m.

This exhibit was made possible in part by funding from the Friends of the Hennepin County Library and the Minnesota Department of Education through a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibit and program do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.