We All We Got

About the Project

We All We Got explores the consequences and devastation of youth violence in contemporary America from 2006 to 2013 through a mix of powerful photographs, incisive essays, and moving letters from diverse individuals affected by this perennial scourge.

Carlos Javier Ortiz’s work provides an avenue for getting to know these children and their families. This work aims to initiate a conversation about youth violence and society’s complicity in it. The terror in the eyes of grieving children and inconsolable mothers only allows the viewer to begin to understand the toll that this reality takes on the children who live it.

The stories take place in Chicago and Philadelphia. By repeatedly returning to the same neighborhoods over the course of eight years, Ortiz shows the plight of the communities with which he has built a deep connection. You see abandoned buildings, memorials for victims, segregation, graffiti, juvenile incarceration, and other constant reminders of the outcomes of violence on young people and their surroundings. But through all the heartbreak, you also see the incredible resilience of the individuals left behind. And where there is terror, there is also a glimpse of the innocence that remains and a tiny glimmer of hope. 

Today as gun violence plagues the country, especially in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, the impacts of experiencing and witnessing this violence can have lasting mental, emotional, and physical impacts. As community organizations around the country seek to end this violence and help young people, this exhibit can bring attention to the lasting personal and community impacts of violence.

about the artists

Carlos Javier Ortiz

Carlos Javier Ortiz is an American documentary filmmaker and photographer.

Other Artists/Contributors include:
  • Luke Anderson, Chicago educator
  • Alex Kotlowitz, author and journalist
  • Diane Latiker, founder of Kids Off the Block, Inc.
  • Mark Schulte, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Public Programs

October 15, 2014

625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago
Special thanks to speakers Luke Anderson, Chicago educator; Alex Kotlowitz, author and journalist; Diane Latiker, founder of Kids Off the Block, Inc.; Carlos Javier Ortiz, visual artist; and moderator Mark Schulte, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Oct 10, 2014–Jan 5, 2015

Exhibit at the Weinberg/Newtown Gallery. In partnership with Youth Service Project

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All of our exhibitions are designed to tour and can be adapted to a broad spectrum of venue types and sizes.

We are happy to provide step-by-step support for hosting this exhibit.

Contact us to learn more about bringing this exhibit to your community.

A few people look at an exhibition of Congo Women in New York

New York installation of Congo/Women

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Projects like We All We Got are only possible with the financial support of our many donors, grant funders, and our community