My dad and his brothers came to America from Iraq as immigrants in their youth. My dad being the youngest, arrived when he was 5 years old. One of his brothers, shown in this video, was about 16 years old. My Uncle Emad has owned this very liquor store/market since the 1970’s, to make a living and put food on the table. I’ve been in and out of his store countless times, but it took this video  from Channel 7 to truly open my eyes.

Lawndale Market Owner and Store

I grew up with a very big family, and very big love for one another. My uncle took polaroid pictures of all of us throughout the years and starting hanging them up on the walls of his store. Photos of us at parties, dinners, important events, or whenever we had a smile on our face. Since he’s known to be the “neighborhood market” he grew his own family through his customers. He took polaroids and pictures of this second family of his, taking snapshots of his customers – real people, real emotions. A veteran loved my uncle so much, he wanted his ashes to be in that very store. To increase student grades, my uncle told students that if they show him a good report card, they could pick out whatever they want. A kind gesture for good deeds.

The memories, the milestones, the honor. The video shows REAL people showing REAL appreciation for a man who appreciated family. A man who loved God and wanted to spread that message alongside the pictures of many faces. My uncle made his own Instagram page through his store he’s built for the past 50 years.

You know what baffles me the most? He doesn’t do it for followers. He doesn’t do it for likes. He doesn’t do it for comments. My uncle has NO IDEA about the social media world. As a matter of fact, my uncle still uses a flip phone. This video has 2,000 shares on Facebook and he has no idea, nor would he want to. He doesn’t do it for the praise of others, but to make him and the people around him happy.

Let the gratitude and reasoning behind my Uncle Emad’s real life Instagram page feed some thought into why you started this journey of yours, and why you decided to document it.

“If you love God, you love the people.” – My encouraging, loving uncle.

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