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I'm Still Here

Iyana Esters | Minnesota, United States

In the early morning stands James in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, waiting for the food shelter to open, June 2019.

I’m Still Here is an ongoing documentary photo project, which began in 2019 that uses photography to illuminate the history, lives and resiliency of the Black American people who are today experiencing environmental racism including water inequities in Flint, Michigan, gentrification in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, and toxic environments in Detroit, Michigan.

Environmental racism is the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on Black and other marginalized communities. The growing threat of climate change on different ecosystems and communities has exposed, more than ever before, the ways in which environmental racism plays out in the day-to-day lives. Many Black communities are exposed to toxic chemicals and aging infrastructure, gentrification with increased housing prices, contaminated drinking water, and the lack of healthy produce and foods. Life expectancies decline while chronic health issues increase in Black neighborhoods.


While currently living in Colombia, Iyana Esters is a visual storyteller and teaching artist from the United States with a wild west Nevada upbringing and deep southern Louisiana and Mississippi roots. She received her B.S. in Community Health Sciences from the University of Nevada, Reno and her M.P.H. in Behavioral, Social, and Community Health from Indiana University.​ She combines art with her expertise in public health to empower Black and other marginalized communities, using photography as a lens to document the human impact of environmental racism and celebrate Black life, history, practices, and rituals. An emerging photographer, Iyana works primarily in long-form photography and documentary. She feels sense of freedom and purpose as her camera reveals the world to her through storytelling.



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