News with Nuance: May 19, 2023
Your Friday dose of News with Nuance: the week's biggest stories, unpacked + more ..
I want to start out with a big “thank you.” Over last weekend,passed a big (paid) subscriber threshold to become a Substack bestseller. Sometimes these levels can be just a numbers game - but to me it’s not really about the numbers but instead about the reminder that there are so many of you who’ve found this time together and this community valuable to your lives. I’m really grateful for that, and for you. And notably, the (free) subscriber base of this newsletter continues to grow as well, and as a free subscriber to lots of newsletters that I thoroughly adore and have learned a lot from, know I’m so grateful to all of you as well.
It’s good to start with gratitude, because to be honest, the news lately has got me down a bit. So much violence and suffering in our world today, and so little space to acknowledge it, much less easily accessible avenues to try and make things better.
With that in mind, I thought what we might need this week in News with Nuance is a bit of beauty. Not that the pieces I’m about to share with you are facile, or without depth or hardship. But what each of them shares as well is an attention to the beauty of life and creation.
Let’s get to the news - with nuance …
Photo by Li Qiang, Washington Post
The Headline: A Chinese photographer captures his family’s immigration journey to America
I wrote in last week’s newsletter about immigration, the U.S./Mexico border, and the end of Title 42 - and then I came across this story from the Washington Post, and I thought it was just a such a beautiful complement to what I wanted to convert about immigration.
Often, news stories about immigration and immigrants and migrants and refugees focus on the ugliness and pain and suffering of migration, which is absolutely true and essential to share. But I think especially those of us who are already living in America cannot discount the other side of these immigration stories, which is the possibility that results when immigrants come to the U.S. and are treated with kindness and hope.
Li Qiang’s photos of his family that accompany this essay are spare, simple - and also colorful and bright. I had a hard time choosing which one to highlight in this newsletter, so I highly recommend clicking through to the link and viewing each one in detail (if you hit a paywall, send me a message and I can help gift you this article, just because I think the photos are so worth viewing!)
I think part of what drew me to this photo-essay, besides the ways it humanizes the immigration story and reminds us of its hopeful beauty, is also the ways that Li lifts up the dignity and honor of ordinary family life, as you’ll see below in the quote I chose.
The Quote: “I felt it’s worth recording our life in America,” (Li Qiang) said. “I have seldom documented my family cohesively, and observed them closely enough. They were water and air to me in the past, important, but sometimes unnoticeable.”
Story by Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Photos by Li Qiang, Washington Post
The Headline: My friend kept me human in prison. Please don’t forget him.
If the previous article served to lift up the beauty in photos and family, this next piece will serve to lift up the beauty of well-honed words, and friendship.
Abdelrahman ElGendy’s essay is filled with the pain we so often cover in this
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