Because of Them, WE Can Founder Speaks to the UA Community
Ironically, on this day 4 years ago, Trayvon Martin was shot in Florida February 26, 2012. It was a year later in 2013 that Eunique Jones Gibson was wondering and thinking about the safety of her two young boys in a country plagued with racial tensions, police brutality and racial injustice, that she felt a "fear of uncertainty raising her young black boys," as she spoke to a roomful of UA Community, students and staff about her experience last night at Mullins Library.
"I felt Fear and Hope" as I watched my sons and thought of their safety in a country that racially condemns our kids. And it was a month before Black History month in 2013 and I noticed my son shadow boxing with his gloves and I instantly thought of Muhammad Ali. It was like a vision and I felt God speak to me. I instantly grabbed my camera and took pictures. My son Chase does look like a miniature Muhammad Ali. So I then begin to take pictures of children and model them after Black History Trailblazers past and present. It was just supposed to be a project!"
That project somehow gained the attention of Tom Joyner, black radio show personality and instead of the 28 days for February 2013 she was planning for, he called her and said, "You can't drop the mic, keep it going. You just can't do 28 days of Amazing photos!" And so she did. She quit her great paying advertising job and in the year 2013 she took pictures of 650 children in 365 days. She also diversified her children for women's history month and Hispanic heritage month.
When asked if she received any negativity or backlash, she said, "Yes and it is mainly people who are complaining that the children are not brown enough because they are lighter in the photo. It is only due to the camera flash that offsets the complexion of the child, but I shrug that off. Another complaint is why focus on Hispanics, Asians, Indians and other cultures? I say there is diversity and if we wish to bring in children of diverse backgrounds, we can. I don't know why they would think I am a Sell-Out," she says.
Because of Them, WE Can has been spotlighted on American Family Insurance, TV One, OWN and many other publicity shows. They have created outdoor media marketing in many cities such as New Jersey, Mississippi and Ferguson MO.
What's Next....A campaign that would allow kids to Imagine themselves in the times of Rosa Parks, MLK and more.
This is not a 28 day project anymore.
This is a life time changing moment where kids can be excited about Imagining the Possibilities!
Thanks Eunique for Inspiring Umoja Soul Kids to Imagine through the BHM Showcase
and the Boys and Girls Club Fashion show in Fayetteville and Fort Smith.