Kenneth Bachor   
Brooklyn, NY

Over the past year, we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of emotions thrown together. An explosion of current events and breaking news, testing our mental limits. The COVID-19 pandemic. Masks. Racist violence. Mental strife. Blacks being murdered by cops. A Presidential election. New conversation and dialogue. Protests. Poverty, unemployment, rising homelessness. New condos being built. Fireworks. Violence against Asians. Businesses closing. A siege of the U.S. Capitol. A COVID-19 vaccine. Outdoor dining. Social media and divisive opinions. So where’s the “American Dream” in all of this?

This image was taken on April 16, 2021, a little over a year after Covid-19 first hit, while driving in New Jersey with my friend, Dave. I was in the passenger seat and spontaneously captured this sign while passing the American Dream complex, near MetLife Stadium.
It's just a road sign designating a turnoff for a longtime controversial super mall, but it speaks to so much more. The sign stood out to me because of those two words: American Dream. So simple, yet so confusing. I began to think about it more in depth.

Our whole lives, in this country, the combination of those two words is something that's shoved down our throats time and time again from when we’re young. Yet, a lot of people aren’t sure what the American Dream is, or why we pursue it. Some experience their version of what that may be and others break their backs their whole lives trying to achieve what they think it is. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that life is short and we have to be kinder to one another as humans, and value our short time here on this planet. 

- Kenneth