Equal Pay
Women are typically paid 79% of what men are paid.  Rates of pay vary depending on where you live, your age, race and education level.  Hispanic women are paid on average 54% of what men are paid.  Women between the ages of 55-64 are paid an average of 76% of what men are paid.

Over the past three decades women have transitioned to male dominated careers from working as teachers, secretaries and nurses to lawyers, doctors and business executives. Although wages have also increased for women, pay discrimination continues at all pay levels.  

Federal minimum wage is currently $14,500 annually.  This is far below the poverty line for a woman with two children. Wage gaps for middle income women typically translate into more than $10,000 per year in lost earnings.
The existing law available to remedy pay discrimination is not enough…that is why Paycheck Fairness Act is critical.  This Act allows employees to discuss their compensation without fear of retaliation or job loss.  It also will increase penalties for employers that do not comply with equal pay laws.  

"79 cents"    painted clay    7 x 24 x 8

Wired
Walking through the woods and listening to the wind flow through the trees, listening to birds singing their song and the sound of crickets is something lost by the current generation.  The iphone, iTunes, Netflix, the 1000 channels on TV, kindle, audio books are distractions that take us away from being present and experiencing the moment.  

In restaurants, couples can be seen on their cell phone with no connection to one another.  Families are dining together and the children are engaged on their phones or pads while the parents attempt conversation.  What once was “intimacy” is impossible when relationships are constantly impacted by distraction.  Social discourse which was once valued is now replaced by short text messages and e-mails.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics states that infants aged 0-2 years should not have ANY exposure to technology.  The study outlined ten frightening reasons why handheld devices should be banned for children under the age of 12.  Aggression, mental illness, radiation emission and addiction were all areas that were studied when children had long-term exposure to technology.  

Can we hear when someone shares his or her concerns with us?  Can we feel their excitement or pain?  Although instant connections are now possible, is real intimacy lost forever?  

"wired"    cast resin w/patina    12 x 12 x 12

Woman Veterans
More women are serving in the US military today than in anytime in history.  Sexual assaults and harassment by fellow soldiers occur at a higher rate than the general public.  More than 70 sexual assaults occur per day in the US Military.  

The VA says that one in five women seen at the Veterans Health Administration – compared to one in 100 men- has experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST).  The VA also reports that 87 per cent of female veterans do not use VA Healthcare Services. Many women are harassed just walking in the door of the hospital.  

Severe depression, substance abuse and suicide are plaguing women veterans.  A woman veteran explained her experience as washing dishes in her kitchen one day and being on a battlefield days later.  She returned to civilian life impacted by experience of war itself and by MST- and had difficulty finding employment and housing with NO support or services to help her process her wartime experience.  

Many women who have served in the US military are unaware that, as veterans, they qualify for VA benefits and services.  Other women report that they do not use the VA because it is geared primarily to serve men and lacks safe, secure, segregated medical services for women. 

"pledge of allegiance"    painted clay w/fabric and metal    63 x 12 x 12

Manzanar
In February 1942, President Roosevelt ordered all Japanese Americans to be rounded up and taken to internment camps regardless of their citizenship.  The following month the War Relocation Authority (WRA) was established to organize this action.

This historic act was done without a judicial hearing, without due process and without any charges filed.  There was no evidence of wrongdoing and still one hundred and ten thousand innocent people were uprooted from their homes, businesses and friends and herded like criminals into concentration camps with barbed wire and military police guards.  

During WWII over 26,000 Japanese Americans served in the armed forces.  The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed of prisoners from the camps, was one of the most decorated combat teams that served in the Pacific theater.

The psychological impact was significant for those in the internment camps as well as generations that followed.  Feelings of helplessness, inferiority, and self-hatred plagued those imprisoned.  This portrait is of a gentle man born in this prison camp and his only crime was that his parents were honorable Japanese Americans. 

"manzanar"    painted clay    11 x 16.5 x 8

Solitary Confinement
There are over 2.2 million men and women behind bars on any given day in the U.S.  The highest per capital in the world, 5 to 10 times higher than any than any western democracy.  In 2013 it was estimated that over 80,000 inmates in US prisons we being held in solitary confinement.  

In testimony given by an ACLU researcher to a joint legislative committee, Margaret Winter explained, human beings are social animals.  Being subjected to prolonged social isolation causes extreme psychic punishment and pain.  And especially when that isolation is combined with enforced idleness and sensory deprivation- it causes agonizing psychic pain.  Those who start out ill are likely to become more seriously ill.  

The California prison system is antiquated, cruel, and tortuous, a system that is basically unregulated.  It is almost a country within a state that makes its own rules and is not subject to civil procedure or constitutional compliance.  The California constitution is clear about condemning the use of torture, and yet the prisons routinely use solitary confinement, an act of torture, sometimes isolating inmates for 12 months or more.  Suicide is not uncommon in these situations of deprivation……..no shoes, no clothing, no writing instruments, nothing.

"solitary confinement"    rusted clay    14.5 x 12 x 9

Dementia
Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause in the top ten for which we lack the ability to prevent, cure or even slow it.  The FDA has not approved a new compound to treat the disease in more than a decade according to Secretary Hillary Clinton.  

Dementia is not a disease, it is a group of symptoms that affect the ability to think, remember and take care of daily activities.  Often there are dramatic changes in mood and behavior, trouble with speech and communication.  

There are many types of dementia

Alzheimer’s dementia
Parkinson’s dementia
Vascular dementia
Lewy Body dementia
Frontotemporal dementia

Dementia can be present for 20 years before symptoms begin to occur.  The progression of Alzheimer’s is slow; many people are able to manage their lives for many years without assistance.  However, family members are often forced to quit their jobs to stay home and care for the Alzheimer patient.  This can have a huge drain on the family budget and could force families into severe financial debt.  

The mind and soul are often imprisoned in the body.  Loving caregivers describe the experience as knowing “their loved one is there somewhere. “ It is painful for family and friends to watch the demise of a dignified human being be reduced to an often angry, hostel child with no ability for self-care.  

The cost of Alzheimer’s is exceeding most other conditions and diseases, estimated at over $200 billion.  Studies estimate that in the next 30 years, nearly 15 million individuals aged 65 and older will be living with Alzheimer’s disease.  It is critical that more comprehensive research is done in a timely manner and funding for this research must be a priority.  

"dementia/betty"    found objects and plaster    55 x 24 x 32

Vietnam
Chris served in the US Army during the Vietnam War.  One of his jobs while serving was as a driver for officers. Chris was driving an officer when their vehicle was hit. When he woke from the explosion his head was bandaged and one ear was severely damaged. Ringing was all he could hear.  This injury was life changing for Chris but he did not connect this experience with the very difficult and tragic life he led.  

Chris was honorably discharged from the Army, married and had a child.   However, there were few jobs, no affordable housing and no welcoming community to return to.  That is when the drinking began which was typical of Vietnam veterans.  Drinking, homelessness, and a revolving prison door.

It was decades of this difficult lifestyle before Chris finally found a veteran community and treatment for his drinking so he could stop this cycle of addiction.  He committed two years to this recovery effort and transitioned to affordable supportive housing and a job at a deli, taking three buses to work.  

Chris, a dedicated employee was deaf in one ear and often had trouble remembering and processing information.  It was while Chris was modeling for this portrait that I encouraged him to seek a new diagnosis for his injury from 1970.  He finally was properly diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.   Months later, I received a call from Chris letting me know that he is receiving compensation for 100% of his injuries and received compensation from years past.  He was finally able to pay for his daughters education and live his life without the stresses he had lived with for so many years.  

Chris is one of the lucky ones.  So many Vietnam veterans have taken their lives, are living on the streets or are incarcerated.  A better transition system from military to civilian life, and better diagnosis is needed to save our veterans from wasted lives.  

"vietnam"   painted clay    16 x 9 x 6.5

Alone
More than 40 million American adults and 17 million children have mental health issues.  Most are too ashamed to discuss their issues with family and friends so they withdraw to a silent and antisocial existence.  

Los Angeles County jail has the distinction of being the largest mental health facility in the country.  Since the mental health system is broken, many low income and poor people with mental health disorders end up in jails, prisons or on the street.  

Twenty-two veterans take their lives every day.  It is not only the recent combat veteran committing suicide, but also Vietnam veterans who have been suffering in silence for over thirty years. Adolescents and children have joined this disturbing statistic and the numbers are growing.  

Although legislation passed in 2008 requires group health plans to provide benefits for mental health, it is difficult to find doctors that take insurance. Patients in crisis could wait months to see a professional that will take insurance.  In some communities there are dramatic shortages in mental health professionals.  

"alone"   painted clay    16x11x7

"social injustice"    painted clay w/palm frond    33 x 34.5 x 9