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Letter from student after showing in a

Catholic high school in Austin, Texas
Dear Jacob Holdt, 

I saw your show, "American Pictures" a week ago today at Hogg Auditorium. It was really incredible. I was so stunned. 
Before I saw the show, many people warned me that it was a show that would bring out many conflicting emotions. So I put myself on guard by raising a wall around my emotions. It worked during the whole show and there was no effect on me at all. But on the way home, my friends and I began discussing "American Pictures" and so much anger poured forth that I surprised myself. 

I found that I was completely stunned that there was so much cheap labor still going on in the United Stated. All those people living in such poverty and working their backs off for what little pay they can jet. And slavery? I was so ignorant of that fact! I never knew -- and never would have guessed. And then to learn that there are people living in the city in such poverty! In the city! Around so many people who live much better lives! 

That's what hurt. That's what made me so angry. No one is doing a thing about it. No one! Can people be so cruel!?!?! Won't the government do anything about it after being presented with all these facts? And if they're skeptical, won't they investigate it? How can mankind turn their backs on these living beings who are people too? Do they think the problem will just go away? I never thought that people were like this. I thought they were more compassionate. I'll have to admit that there are many, but it doesn't seem to be enough. Otherwise, there would be a change. 

To realize this, was painful. The condition that these people live in was enough, but to find out that many don't care, hurt even more. I am so angry... so hurt! I feel betrayed by my country. They say this is a land of opportunity. Is that the opportunity they receive? They say this is a land of plenty. If there's so much, why is it that there are people who don't have enough? 

I'll have to admit, "American Pictures" made me cry. But it was through the discussion that I had at school with my class-mates. So much anger welled up inside of me and so much hurt overflowed, I had to cry. All I could see were those pictures... those faces... the pain. I still see them -- everyday. And nothing can get rid of them. What can I do? How can I alleviate the problem? What can I do to stop the pain -- in them and in me. 


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