To be honest, Black History Month is year round for me. As a black woman, especially one living in the U.S., I’m reminded of and inspired by the endless contributions of black people to the collective betterment of this nation on a daily basis.
And now, as a mother raising a brown boy here, I’m even more grateful for Black History Month to help me educate my son about the expansive history of African Americans. One remarkable non-profit campaign that I’ve leaned on to introduce him to new, significant heroes is Because Of Them, We Can.
What started as a visual project by photographer Eunique Jones Gibson, to reimagine and envision the possibilities of her children and others who look like them, has grown into a grand celebration that serves to edify, educate and embolden a new generation of children, placing them squarely on the shoulders of the giants who came before them and paved the way. Gibson says it best on the campaign’s website:
The Because of Them, We Can campaign was birthed out of my desire to share our rich history and promising future through images that would refute stereotypes and build the esteem of our children.
This empowerment project, featuring adorable “mini-me”-styled tributes to major historical and present-day African American figures, quickly grew from a photo series to a movement. And I love it. If you do too, check out the calendars, coffee table books, iconic tees, and billboards. There are also video PSAs like my favorite, which turns Stacey Dash’s widely mocked comments about Black History Month into something far more positive.
Because Of Them, We Can is undeniably adorable, but the campaign is rooted in something deeper than darling. It’s a message to our brown and black children that they can step into the promise of a full, rich, valued life; that they can boldly grab hold of all that this world has to offer; that they are seen and heard and represented; and, most important, that their lives matter — just like all of these greats that blazed trails before them and for them.
Whatever your race, color, or background, we hope you and your children will take a look at the lovely Because Of Them, We Can campaign.
All images © Eunique Jones Gibson