56 Lexington Women of Color: In Honor of VP Kamala Harris

56 Lexington Women of Color

On the day Senator Kamala Harris made history as the first woman and the first woman of color to become Vice President-Elect, Kurt and I started work on a series of 46 photographs to celebrate Harris and to honor Lexington women of color who lead.

We began by recognizing we had already photographed many women of color who are leaders in our community for this artwork: Lexington in the Time of COVID-19. So we wrote to each of them to share about what we were doing and to ask if we could include the portraits we had taken of them. We also asked who else we should photograph.

From the start, one of our biggest challenges was clarifying what we mean by “lead,” a word steeped in male-centered notions of leadership. 

We explained we wanted to photograph women who are leaders in their communities, whether because they head an organization, lead a movement, chair or sit on a board, own a business, or are beloved by many.

Over the next two months, we photographed women who are considered pillars of their communities; women who tend to the health of immigrant and Latinx kids; women who mentor fellow immigrant women and teach them English; women who advocate for other women; women who know when city government votes on resolutions that hurt their neighbors and who love their neighbors fiercely; women who teach and inspire; women who blaze new trails.

These women shared their stories with us and always asked, “Do you need more women?”

It’s impossible to say no to an offer to be introduced to more amazing women! Which is why this series includes 56 photographs of Lexington women of color, even though Kurt and I initially set out to capture 46. 

We are taking this as a sign of who our next 10 Vice Presidents and—dare we hope—Presidents may be. And we feel honored to have met so many incredible women, thankful that they let us photograph them, and humbled by what they do ❤

#KamalaHarris #WomenSupportingWomen #BIPOCwomen


Renee Shaw was born in Portland, TN, and is a graduate of Western Kentucky University, with a B.A. in political science and broadcast journalism (1994)

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Dr. Deidra Dennie is Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Transylvania University. She was recently appointed to the Affordable Housing Commission in Lexington by

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Sarah Williams, BSN, MA, Community Activist, Civic Change Agent, one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter protests in Lexington, Co-Founder of Peoples Blueprint

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A young woman with purple hair and glasses sits on a brick front-porch railing in a striped shirt.


“Hi, friends. My name is Brandy. I am an artist/educator, self proclaimed do-gooder, lover of people, communities, and stories. I am a daughter, sister, and

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Jessica McAlpin is a Lexington-based artist and owner of Verie Nice Art. Jessica: “Verie Nice Art is a sort of all-encompass name for what I

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Kenzie Green: “I’m a regular participant in the Black Lives Matter and LPD accountability protests in Lexington. In my hometown, Mount Sterling, KY, I’m an

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Saburah El-Amin is the co-founder, backbone, and lead community organizer for the SHARE Center in Lexington, KY. Her experience and activism in the Central Kentucky

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April Taylor is a local leader of the LPD Accountability movement and a co-founder of the Wild Fig Worker Co-operative. She has been doing grassroots

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Tiffany El-Amin: “I am a farmer in Appalachian Kentucky. I farm herbs and other flowers and plants for pollinators conservation that we have in our

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Etel Wagner is Chef/Owner of Bayleaf Diaspora Kitchen Narrative from original post: Etel: “As far back as my college days, cooking for others and seeing

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Sean, Kadyn, and Tia

Tia Edwards is co-owner of Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co. Narrative from original post: In 2017 Sean Edwards, a Lexington, Kentucky, native set out to open

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Michael and Erin

Erin Robinson is co-owner of Not Your Ordinary Vegan. Narrative from original post: Not Your Ordinary Vegan is a dedicated vegan cafe that serves an

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Brigit Truex is a Lexington-based artist and poet. Brigit: “How to be a writer/artist during the epidemic?This almost-year of basic ‘hermitage’ has been an extraordinary

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Nadia Rasheed, M.D. Born and raised in New York City, Nadia Rasheed completed medical school in Baghdad, Iraq in 1983. She was evacuated from Kuwait

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Two women with long dark hair, one with bangs are seated on a front porch among wooden furniture. One sits with legs crossed while the other drapes her right hand across her knee.

Echo and Emily

Emily Woxihara performs with Ancient Warfare and is the drummer for Bear Medicine. She also performs solo as Emily Hagihara. Narrative from original post: Both

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Patrick and Keiko

Dr. Keiko Tanaka is Professor of Rural Sociology and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Community & Leadership Development in the Department of Community & Leadership

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Mae Suramek is a reformed non-profit administrator turned social entrepreneur. She has worked as a human rights investigator in Kentucky and North Carolina, alumni director

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Isabel with Benni

Isabel Taylor: “My background is in international business law. I moved to KY in 2004 and am startled to realize I’ve been Lexington Fayette Urban

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Suvas and Nima

Nirmala S. Desai, MD Nima: “I went to medical school in Baroda, which is in the Western part of India, about 250 miles North of

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Srimati Basu is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Anthropology, and a member of the Committee on Social Theory at the University of Kentucky.

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Dr. Seema Capoor is a physician, surgeon and associate professor in cornea and external diseases in the Department of Ophthalmology at UK HealthCare. “As an

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Marilyn Dishman was the first African American Commissioner for Fayette County. She became a member of the Board of Elections in June 2016 and is

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Dr. Huajing Maske, Executive Director, University of Kentucky Confucius Institute; Executive Director, University of Kentucky Office of China Initiatives. “I grew up in rural China

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Preeti with Piku

Preeti Gupta works as a Realtor for Lifstyl Real Estate. She is a co-owner of Housewarmings and is one of the organizers of Veg Fest

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Mizari Esmeralda Suárez: “Mizari Suárez is neighborly! I’ve never considered myself an activist, and although I’ve had individuals think and label me as an activist,

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Janeth Ceballos Osorio, MD, FAAP “Hola Amigos y Vecinos. I am a physician, an educator, a Hispanic woman, an immigrant. I was born and raised

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Iman, Saphia, and Hannah

Saphia Isa is co-owner of BaK 4 More Studio. Narrative from original post: Saphia: “Our home has turned into a library. I’m teaching downstairs. The

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A barefoot young woman with dark braided hair and steel grey highlights wearing a shortened tee shirt is seated on a brick column of a front porch with a metal storm door.


Ciara LeRoy is the owner of Pretty Strange Design and the artist who painted the Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Lexington. Narrative from original post:

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Samantha and King

Samantha Johnson is Director of The Night Market, Social Media Lead at the Julietta Market, Community Manager at Hi Anxiety, Creative at Kentucky For Kentucky,

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Srikant and Lakshmi with Fibo

Lakshmi Sriraman: “I am a visual and performing artist, based in Lexington. I run two arts-based small businesses, Shree School of Dance and Lakshmi’s Studio.

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Shayna and Chamari

Shayna Sawyers: “As far as my role in the community, my show on 107.9 The Beat is very inspirational and encouraging. I give my listeners

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Aardra Kachroo is an award-winning scientist and Professor at the University of Kentucky Plant Pathology Department. She does a number of K-12 science outreach workshops

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A woman in a bright red dress and curly lightened hair with thick glasses stands next to a young girl with curly dark hair donning a yellow blanket as a cape (arms stretched wide) while a man with dreadlocks and a beard wearing red sneakers leans on a porch column.

Crystal, Ivory, and Ron

Crystal Wilkinson, a USA Artist Fellow, is the award-winning author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water

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A young woman with dreadlocks and thick rimmed glasses wearing a loosely fitting jacket stands, hands in pocket in front of a stone buidling with potted tree saplings in the background.


Christine Smith, Executive Director of Seedleaf, a community gardening organization in Lexington, KY. Narrative from original post: Christine: “How am I coping? I don’t think

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Mike, Bodhi, Toa, and Bindi

Toa Green is Owner/Operator of Crank & Boom Craft Ice Cream. Narrative from original post: Toa: “We have been quarantined together for 9 weeks but

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Rikketta Franklin, M.Ed. is owner of Cynette Tutelage and Consulting as well as a Violence Prevention Coordinator with the University of Kentucky Violence Intervention and

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A neatly dressed bald man in an orange tie and leather sandals is seated on the wooden porch of a light freen home next to a woman with short curly hair, barefoot wearing a white button up shirt.

Rodney and Andrea

Andrea James works as Community Response Strategist in the Mayor’s Office, City of Lexington. She chairs the Fayette County Subcommittee, HEALing Communities Grant. She is

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A couple: (left) a young woman with a long tee shirt and rubber boots, (right) a bald man with a beard, sunglasses propped on his forehead, and a yellow handkerchief around his neck, stand in front of an open-front shed filled with gardening supplies and tools.

Ashley and Trevor

Ashley Smith is a native and life-long resident of Lexington, KY. She is a proud mother of 2-year-old twins Caroline and Trevor, Jr., and partner

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Ka’imilani Leota Sellers is a teacher and writer. Narrative from original post: Writing Kentucky By K. Ka`imilani Leota Sellers I once imagined you; sleek rifles,

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Justin and Christine

Christine Louise Stanley is Member of the Defense Research Institute and the National Bar Association. She is At-Large Representative to the Young Lawyers Division of

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