PPP: Pride, Politics, Photojournalism

PPP: Pride, Politics, Photojournalism

It only takes one exceptional picture to make Sabrina Johnkins smile. Capturing human emotion through her Canon Rebel T5i lens is like winning the lottery.

"I think photojournalism is the most powerful form of journalism."

Sabrina Johnkins' favorite picture she's taken, so far. (Picture by Sabrina Johnkins)

Photography is what stuck out to Sabrina when trying to decide which route she wanted to go with journalism. She received her camera just over a year ago for Christmas. It was a present from her mother Susan Johnkins.

"She shaped a lot of the person I am," said Sabrina. "She's never told me I couldn't doing anything."

It's been Sabrina and her mom since she was two-years-old. Her parents got divorced and she hasn't seen her father since the age of 15.

Growing up with a white mother, in the white city of Green Bay as a black woman you would think life would be pretty hard for her there...guess again! Sabrina always felt at home and a part of the community. 

Although, once she graduated from high school she wanted a change.

"I wanted more diversity in my life."

A child at the Westboro Church protest. "He should be in school, not telling people of the LGBT community they are "fags" and going to hell..." said Sabina. (Picture by Sabrina Johnkins)

She came to Milwaukee to attend University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and she doesn't regret it.

"I consider Milwaukee home, I don't consider Green Bay home," she said. "I'm happier here."

Sabrina thinks of herself as an amateur photojournalist but she doesn't let that stop her. She knows what she wants and she know she has to start somewhere.

She and her Canon spent nearly a month outside together just so she could practice messing with the settings.

Sabrina went on an investigative reporting trip to find out why the Mississippi River Valley had the biggest flip in the U.S. from blue to red. This is a picture of Trump supporter Larry Lange from Steuben, Wisconsin. (Picture by Sabrina Johnkins)

This is more than just a hobby or career for Sabrina, this her way of changing the world. 

"I think journalism can give a voice to the voiceless."

Sabrina has a passion for politics like no other. With Donald Trump in office Sabrina believes it's a great time to be a journalist.

"We're living in history right now."

Whenever Sabrina feels like school is becoming too much and wants to give up, she thinks of her inspiration: Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

The Hijab Unity Walk. It was a march around UWM's campus to support Muslim women's right to wear the hijab. (Picture by Sabrina Johnkins)

She watched a film about Yousafzai two years ago in one of her college courses. Titled, He Named Me Malala, the film explains how Yousafzai - the world's youngest Nobel Prize laureate - was brutally targeted by the Taliban when she was only 14-years-old. She was shot in the face along with her friends simply because they were females trying to go to school. She was eventually ran out of her home because the government wanted to kill her. 

"It was honestly one of the most powerful things I've ever seen," she said. "There are people who would kill to be where I am; it really puts things into perspective."

Sabrina likes to stand up for the those who can't always do it themselves because she knows what it feels like. 

Thing is, she's the only black person on her mother's side of the family. It was hard, but she got inspiration from those rough times. While she was accepted by most of her family, she was completely disowned by her grandfather--he's a racist.

Westboro Baptist Church protest. (Picture by Sabrina Johnkins)

"(He) taught me everything I don't want to be," said Sabrina. "You hope people accept you and if they don't, their loss."

Sabrina never lets anything tear her spirit down. She's always smiling and looking for the next emotion to capture.

Although she loves to write, she believes a picture can say more than words can. So enjoy her last quote and admire her pictures more than this article.

"A mountain is always going to be there, but people are always going to be relevant and always changing," said Sabrina. "That in itself is a beautiful thing."

Women's March on Madison. (Picture by Sabrina Johnkins)

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