Race & Reality in America

I still believe inThe American Dream

Apple Live Photos by John Loomis for CNN
Profiles by Tami Luhby for CNNMoney
Regina Gates, 60 For years, Gates lived the American Dream. The Walnut Grove, Mississippi, resident owned a beauty salon, making more in an hour than her dad, a forklift driver, made in a week. Gates (pictured above with her grandchildren) traveled and provided for her five daughters, one of whom has a PhD. Then she developed health problems, which cost her the salon and her dream. However, she still believes her children will have an easier time attaining their dreams than she or her parents did.

The world is changing. I have the opportunity to do things [my mother] couldn't do"

Breionne Carter, 22 Carter lives in a suburb of Austin, Texas, and has big dreams. Now working at Dairy Queen, she is saving up to attend community college. Someday, she hopes to become an entrepreneur, creating companies that provide jobs for others in her community. Single with no children, she says she has more choices and faces less discrimination than her mother, who had the first of her nine children when she was just 17.

Everything I've ever wanted to do, I've done."

Ray Sanchez, 51 Family is the most important part of the American Dream for Sanchez. Currently unemployed, the former Buddy Holly impersonator lives with his wife and two younger children in Monmouth, Oregon. His eldest daughter lives a few hours away with her 3-year-old daughter. Despite severe health issues, Sanchez says he's fortunate, especially compared to his father, who lived on the streets from the age of 7 after his mother abandoned the family and his father died.

I want a nice house where I can throw family dinners and host BBQs. I want to be able to mow my own lawn."

Paul McEwen, 40 McEwen knows he can earn good money as an information technology consultant. But he's not quite there yet. He's hoping to start working full-time and earning more once he obtains additional credentials. The Queens, New York, resident, who immigrated from Grenada in 2001 and has an 11-year-old daughter, said online courses and other technology are helping more people achieve the American Dream. In fact, he hopes to start an online fitness clothing business on the side in the next year.
Bobby Wood, 33 A truck driver, Wood averages 66 hours a week on the road, hauling produce and meat between San Diego and Chicago. With the economy growing, it's much easier to find a good-paying job like his these days, he says. He's planning on moving to Denver, where his parents and younger sister live. He'll rent for now, but hopes to buy a house in the next year, putting him one step closer to achieving his American Dream.
Iman Worsham, 31 Life in Birmingham, Alabama, is easier now than it was when her mother was growing up, says Worsham. There’s less prejudice and more programs and counselors to guide young blacks into colleges and careers. Worsham herself benefitted from such assistance. She has a master's in health services administration, is a case manager for Humana and is studying to become a registered nurse. Her goal: To set her 10-year-old son on the right path.

About this series

We sent photographer John Loomis to six cities in six days to capture images of people who said they still believe that they, or their children, have a better shot of achieving the American Dream than their parents did. Loomis took nine flights -- logging 7,670 miles in the air and driving another 720 miles -- to meet these Americans who responded to CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation's poll on race.
These photos were shot on an iPhone 6s using Apple Live Photos, and were edited by Loomis for style and consistency.