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SEE ME: Looking with In(ten)tion

"SEE ME: Looking with In(ten)tion" exhibit is a project created by fourteen High Point University juniors and seniors (2017) enrolled in a Service Learning Documentary Photography class under the direction of Benita VanWinkle. Our focus involved documenting the immigrants of minority cultures that make up ten percent of the High Point community and the impact they have on our community. We built special connections with refugee families, local businesses owned by immigrants, and High Point University’s international students and faculty. We heard the stories and documented the daily lives of individuals in the High Point area who were unrecognized as immigrants who have overcome hardships and stereotypes to make great contributions to our community.


We worked closely with the YWCA for their annual International Women’s Day event, World Relief’s refugee families, First Presbyterian Church students in ESL lessons, and owners of local businesses such as Sumela: Turkish and Mediterranean Restaurant, Nick’s Sub Shop, Penny Path, Abu Rugs and Home, and more.


This service learning course has opened our eyes to bigger issues outside our lives as students. Through our project, we have been made more aware of the influence that minority cultures have on our daily lives as well as the economic, cultural and sociological effect they have on local and national society. We have become passionate about informing and enlightening others about issues involving refugees and immigrants in America. Being a timely subject, we encountered some problems with individuals being skeptical to work with us. 

This changed the course to more of an independent study in which we were given the opportunity to go out into the community and find these stories on our own. We sought out people with diverse backgrounds to document the often-unnoticed contributions these citizens make to our society. Our hope was to make all of the members involved with our project feel that that they are a valued and vital part of our community.  

Amina Ali

My contribution to this exhibit highlighted a Somali family living in the High Point Community. The family consists of a mother, father and four children. Amina Ali is a Somali refugee living in High Point, North Carolina, displaced by the Somali Civil War. She is searching for means to gain custody of her oldest son, who lives in Ethiopia with his grandmother. Ali has a total of five children, all of whom speak at least three different languages.