CE trains historically marginalized DC youth of color to harness the power of photography and their own voices. It develops their capacity to shape narratives about themselves and their communities and to drive concrete changes in school environments by mounting youth-led campaigns that work toward education equity and that close the opportunity gap. Since 2004, CE has provided experiential learning and leadership opportunities to more than 2,700 Black and Brown youth (140 a year) who have used their photos and narratives to fight for restorative justice programs, find solutions to the school-to-prison pipeline, protect visual and performing arts requirements, advocate for financial literacy education standards, and win funding for new school facilities. Elevating the voices of youth and developing their leadership skills means they control the narrative and create meaningful spaces where they can shape decisions that impact them and their worlds.
Headquarters: DC-Ward 1
Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8
Age Groups Served: Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24)
Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Latino/Hispanic
Population(s) Served: Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Men/Boys; Women/Girls; Students; Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members
Schools They Work In: Cardozo Senior High School; Anacostia Senior High School ; Next Step Public Charter School ; Washington Metropolitan High School; Luke C. Moore Academy
Awards & Recognition
Catalogue for Philanthropy 2009-2010 and 2013-2014
Winner of the 2013 Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education
Featured by BBC News and Huffington Post in 2015
Washington Post front page in 2013
Lehrman Impact Award Finalist 2010
Finalist for PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Awards 2010
Recognized as one of the Top-Rated Nonprofits in Education by GreatNonprofits 2010
Featured in the National Youth Employment Coalition’s report, Building Roads to Success: Key Considerations for Communities and States Reconnecting Youth to Education
Winner, GlobalGiving U.S. Open Challenge 2009
Grand Prize Winner, Ben & Jerry's "It's a Flipped Out World"
- Students Improve Education Infrastructure, One Photo at a Time
Wed Jun 8 2011, DCist
Some of the students actually care and are demanding more from their school system.
- East Washington Life: Critical Exposure
Tue Mar 1 2011, East of the River Magazine
These photos are about the metal detectors, taken in the morning when students were coming into the school...
- East Washington Life: Nadia Rose, Critical Exposure
Tue Feb 1 2011, East of the River Magazine
This photo essay was created by Nadia Rose, a student at Luke C. Moore, during a program that she participated in with Critical Exposure.
- Student Photographers Put Education, Policy Issues into Focus
Wed May 12 2010, Politics Daily
Thanks to Adam Levner and Heather Rieman, more than 800 middle and high school students have developed an eye for photography and advocacy.
- Citizen Alumni Heather Rieman and Adam Levner Give Issues of School Funding Critical Exposure
Tue Nov 3 2009, The Active Citizen Newsletter
Tufts University's newsletter chronicles the founding and accomplishments of Critical Exposure.
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