the boy from Troy

by Brenda Ann Kenneally

This TIME photo essay (44 pics) is too important not to see.  It’s heart-wrenching to watch however, so prepare yourself.

Photojournalist Brenda Ann Kenneally captures the life of Donny, from birth to age 8.  He lives with his young mother Kayla in multi-generational poverty in Troy, N.Y., not far from where Kenneally grew up.”

The Boy from Troy is important to watch because it:

• mirrors the childhoods of most of the incarcerated women we write ‘inside’ with each week

• mirrors the adult experiences of these women as mothers

• documents the “cradle to prison pipeline” many children are trapped within

• demonstrates the lack of parenting, economic resources, education, nutritional foods, mentors, exposure to nature, self-responsibility (and on and on) that comes with impoverishment.

This photo essay reminds me of the fragile beings we accompany week-to-week, and the complexity of social issues that converge to create these predicaments.  It also reinforces how difficult it is to break out of the cycle of multi-generational poverty.  As has been said many times before, “there but for the grace of God, go I.”