L.G.B.T. Senior Citizens Find Safe Haven at Jackson Heights Community Center
The Queens Center for Gay Seniors provides a safe haven for senior citizens who face issues of loneliness and isolation.
By Beverly Danquah
Last summer, JuliAnna Patino, a photojournalism student, took a three-month-long trip to Medellín, Colombia, for a story on the effects of the Colombian civil war. She focused on two sisters whose mother was forced into poverty because of the invasion of paramilitary groups, a story which made the perfect fit for her senior thesis.
For as long as she can remember, JuliAnna has been fascinated by photography. She enjoys capturing moments and creating a permanent memory through it.
The 22-year-old is a recent graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology and was born and raised on Long Island.
“Both my grandfathers were friends in Colombia, so they both immigrated to Long Island together in the ’70s,” JuliAnna said. “My whole family on both sides has stayed here ever since.”
Her family takes trips to Colombia every year, and the love of her family’s history and identity, she said, drew her to focus on documenting Latinos in her work.
“My father was constantly taking photos and videos of our family, and as I got older, I realized that it was their testament of success,” JuliAnna said. “They came to this country, made something of themselves, and provided better opportunities for us.”
Although JuliAnna aims to exhibit the hardships and struggles of Latinos, she also wants to display the beauty of Latino culture, and to eliminate some of the stigmas against it.
During her junior year, JuliAnna worked on a video story about Mexican migrant workers in Albion, N.Y.
“I focused on workers who get to work to live and work in the U.S. for six months,” JuliAnna said, discussing the hardships they faced and how they created a kind of second family away from home.
Her story won the multimedia category of the 72nd College Photographer of the Year contest.
When her eyes aren’t behind the lens, JuliAnna enjoys yoga, reading and traveling. Her dream job is to be a senior photo editor at a magazine.
Photo by Chad Rhym/NYT Institute