LaToya Ruby Frasier gave a talk in one of my classes and she made me consider the questions: who is allowed to participate in a revolution? and who is harmed by a revolution? Frasier discussed her hometown, a rural Pennsylvania suburb of Pittsburgh. One of the problems facing her town was the removal of their local hospital. A newer, shiner, ‘better’ hospital was built in a wealthier town nearby. The construction of this hospital could be considered a revolution of sorts. It is a revolution in healthcare technology and purportedly a revolution in access to healthcare. But access for whom? Who is allowed to benefit from a revolution? Not the people in LaToya Ruby Frasier’s town. Even on the scale of a small area in Pennsylvania, a revolution can have unforeseen (or possibly predicted and ignored) effects for certain groups of people.

If a revolution involves some sort of radical change that benefits one group, there must be a group that loses something in the process. The hospital in Pennsylvania is a prime example of the impossibility of serving everyone. Although some residents who live near the new hospital undoubtedly saw an increase in the quality of their care, that was not the case for LaToya Ruby Frasier’s neighbors. They had trouble even getting to the hospital because of the distance. The quality of their care went down because of the hassle involved in accessing this new hospital. The services in their neighborhood were drastically reduced.

Who gets to control the direction and scope of a revolution such as the one that played out in rural Pennsylvania? Money and power certainly help. And in LaToya Ruby Frasier’s neck of the woods, the richer, whiter, younger areas get the better hospital care. Many residents have left her town due to the industrial pollution and the loss of services such as the hospital. Older, poorer people are left. They see no reason why they should be forced to leave their homes to gain access to their right of basic healthcare.

Another important aspect of the hospital revolution is how LaToya Ruby Frasier created a revolution of her own by artistically documenting the struggles of her fellow townspeople to fight for their hospital. She amplified the voices of the people in her town by photographing their protests and sharing their story at places like Colby. By raising awareness of the imbalance in the hospital revolution, she tried to help the situation. Whether or not she was completely successful remains to be seen, but her efforts provide a valuable lesson in considering the economic aspects of a revolution. Not everyone will agree with a revolution, and not everyone will benefit in the same way, or even at all. It is the job of observers and participants such as LaToya Ruby Frasier to document these inequalities to change how revolutions such as hospital building are undertaken in the future.