Sisters of the Commonwealth by Meg Birnbaum
There are 3000+ Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence worldwide with eighteen Sisters, Novices, Postulates and Aspirants in the Boston area. For almost three years I have walked in Pride Parades with them, screamed encouragements alongside them at Boston’s annual AIDS Walk, accompanied them to fancy fundraising dinners at city hotels, brought friends to their monthly Drag Bingo charity events and sailed with them while they sold raffle tickets on Boston harbor cruises.
The Sisters immediately welcomed me and appointed me their “photo historian”. I watch as they artfully manifest into “avatars” of social activism with the seemingly simple goal of inspiring acceptance, compassion and the desire to shift intolerant perspectives while raising money - predominately for causes within the LGBT community. I watch the spectrum of reactions on the faces of strangers in the crowds as we pass. I witness the public’s ability and inability to question and to accept - and the sister's optimism makes me feel hopeful.
Photographs, and the human stories behind them can be tools for supporting social change. I hope that by sharing these photographs of the Sisters with the public, that I am contributing to and echoing their desire to build a better world.
Meg Birnbaum lives and works in Somerville, MA.
To view more of Meg's work, please visit her website.