A new book project gives a voice to Amish and Mennonite communities and takes a look into their lifestyle. “Life Through Their Lens: A Photo Collection by Amish and Mennonite Community, Volume 1” is a photo narrative book published by the Center for Appalachia Research in Cancer Education (CARE). Amish community religious leaders, along with the author, photographer and editor of the book will be part of a lecture series sponsored by the Research Division & Center for Campus & Community Engagement at Ohio University on Nov. 13 in the Baker Center Ballroom from 6:30-8 p.m.

The event will feature a discussion about the book project and a no holds barred Q&A session on being Amish. Ohio University President Dr. Duane Nellis will be on hand to welcome and introduce the group who will also be available for individual conversations during a post-event reception.

The book was developed with the community to combat the negative stereotypes and false beliefs generated by dozens of reality television shows, books, and other media. Historically, the Amish and Mennonite communities have not had a voice in how their communities are portrayed and have been exploited through photographs and videos. Melissa Thomas, author, project director and assistant professor of Family Medicine at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Medicine, brought together her research colleagues and dozens of Amish and Mennonite community members to create the book. They spent over four years working together to ensure the community had the tools they needed to share their voice and tell their story through their own words and images. One hundred percent of the proceeds of the book will fund health programs for Amish and Mennonite women.

Panelists joining Thomas on Nov. 13 include Jake Beachy and David Kline, church bishops in Holmes County, home of the world’s largest Amish settlement; Talitha Tarro, photographer; and Margie Hiermer, editor.

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