RELIGION

DIVIDED AMERICA: Images of Americans dealing with the issues

  • ECONOMY/INCOME INEQUALITY: Hotel owner Elvin Lai inspects a room as he makes his rounds at his hotel in San Diego on Friday, June 10, 2016. A fourth-generation hotelier, Lai has worked his way through nearly every job at the small beach hotel. "Raising the minimum wage doesn't necessarily raise their ability to live," he said. "It is uplifting them through certain skills and increasing their ability to earn while keeping minimum wage at a low. What does a minimum wage increase do? It raises everything. As minimum wage is going up, everything goes up. I'll have to raise my food prices on a week to week basis, as my vendors, and their vendors, increase their prices." (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

    ECONOMY/INCOME INEQUALITY: Hotel owner Elvin Lai inspects a room as he makes his rounds at his hotel in San Diego on Friday, June 10, 2016. A fourth-generation hotelier, Lai has worked his way through nearly every job at the small beach hotel. "Raising the minimum wage doesn't necessarily raise their ability to live," he said. "It is uplifting them through certain skills and increasing their ability to earn while keeping minimum wage at a low. What does a minimum wage increase do? It raises everything. As minimum wage is going up, everything goes up. I'll have to raise my food prices on a week to week basis, as my vendors, and their vendors, increase their prices." (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)  (The Associated Press)

  • SOCIAL VALUES: Denise Wilkes, left, looks at baby Noah Burton sitting on a fellow worshiper's lap during a church service in Birmingham, Ala., on Sunday, May 22, 2016. Wilkes, 46, an anti-abortion, Christian musician and mother, had two abortion procedures when she was young, and now says she has had a change of heart and regrets her past decisions. "I want people to see me as God sees me - a broken and lost vessel who made a lot of bad choices, including abortion, and was in need of a Savior. I have His forgiveness of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus," she says. Wilkes now plays her guitar in front of Planned Parenthood in an effort to go into an area filled with death and release the sound of life through music and also to face her own past, she says. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    SOCIAL VALUES: Denise Wilkes, left, looks at baby Noah Burton sitting on a fellow worshiper's lap during a church service in Birmingham, Ala., on Sunday, May 22, 2016. Wilkes, 46, an anti-abortion, Christian musician and mother, had two abortion procedures when she was young, and now says she has had a change of heart and regrets her past decisions. "I want people to see me as God sees me - a broken and lost vessel who made a lot of bad choices, including abortion, and was in need of a Savior. I have His forgiveness of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus," she says. Wilkes now plays her guitar in front of Planned Parenthood in an effort to go into an area filled with death and release the sound of life through music and also to face her own past, she says. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)  (The Associated Press)

  • RACE: Carde Cornish, rides a skateboard as he takes his son, also named Carde, home past blighted buildings in Baltimore on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Cornish, a young man who has spent his entire life in and around the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray lived and died, is socially and politicly engaged with the city around him. He works for Taharka Brothers, an ice-cream company with a social mission. "Our race issues aren't necessarily toward individuals who are white, but it is towards the system that keeps us all down, one, but keeps black people disproportionally down a lot more than anybody else," says Cornish. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    RACE: Carde Cornish, rides a skateboard as he takes his son, also named Carde, home past blighted buildings in Baltimore on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Cornish, a young man who has spent his entire life in and around the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray lived and died, is socially and politicly engaged with the city around him. He works for Taharka Brothers, an ice-cream company with a social mission. "Our race issues aren't necessarily toward individuals who are white, but it is towards the system that keeps us all down, one, but keeps black people disproportionally down a lot more than anybody else," says Cornish. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)  (The Associated Press)

A woman sleeps in her car, waiting to receive free dental care at a clinic in rural Virginia. Another peers though a fence at the Mexican border to see the grandmother she left behind 18 years before, when she was brought to the United States as a toddler.

Health care and immigration are two of the most contentious issues of this most contentious election year, but they are not merely grist for politics and politicians. Americans like these women, Lesia Crigger and Eva Lara, are dealing with them in nearly every moment of their everyday lives.

A team of Associated Press photographers traversed the country to record those moments. Each set out to capture a single, intimate image to illustrate the human side of immigration, the economy, the environment, gun rights, social values like abortion, gay rights and conservative Christian beliefs, and race.

The result: A mosaic of a people at a singular time, struggling to extend the American project through the treacherous shoals of the 21st century.

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EDITOR'S NOTE — This story is part of Divided America, AP's ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society.