I live in Northern California, more specifically in the San Francisco Bay Area and a region called the North Bay. I've begun a project called Within a Ten-Mile Radius, which is a personal exploration of my neighborhood (especially Roseland & SW Santa Rosa) and can include anything that is within 10 miles of my home. Santa Rosa and West County is a strange melting pot—we've got a little bit of everything: dairy ranchers and apple farmers, transplanted yuppies from the city, immigrants, winegrowers, progressive lefties, artists, soccer moms, mall rats, rednecks, cowboys and everything in-between (just plain folks). The town is split through the middle by Highway 101, and I live on the southwest side of town, a funkier, more working class area, with lots of strip malls, churches and empty shopping centers.

Over the past few years I’ve opened my eyes to the growth of this vibrant community that’s all around me and have been amazed by the resiliency of the people who have become my neighbors. Rather than travel to some far-flung location to photograph, I’m focusing on what’s within my own personal realm—places and people I see on a daily basis and don’t really know anything substantial about. My intention is to get viewers to think about what may be in their community—people living in the shadows that they don’t see, their neighbors next door that they don’t know, and the hidden charm in the small details of everyday life that surrounds us.

I live next to a neighborhood called Roseland, which is home to many immigrants from Mexico and Central America. On May 1, 2006, in response to the debates in Washington about illegal immigration and the possible passage of HR 4437, there was a call for a national show of strength in the largest coordinated demonstration since the Vietnam War, "A Day Without Immigrants." People called for justice, dignity and legal residence for millions of immigrants living in the US. Estimates claim 30,000 demonstrated in San Francisco, possibly a half million in Los Angeles, 400,000 in Chicago, 75,000 in Denver; and in my town of Santa Rosa 10,000 or more marched—possibly the largest demonstration in North Coast history.

We want to show Congress that we're not criminals, we are hard-working people…
— Jose, demonstrator originally from El Salvador

Last year on March 25, 2007, the United Farmworkers and the Coalition for Immigrant Rights called for another march, in part to protest recent ICE raids on Northern California communities. Again, 7-10,000 people from the community attended. It was an army: farmworkers, students, families pushing strollers and weaving their way through the downtown city streets, with hundreds of flags waving, drums pounding, chants of ¡Sí, se puede!