It's amazing how things grow when you allow them to. When we first started the Because of Them We Can campaign it was based off of the inspiration we found in my own home through our sons. As a mother of two Black boys, whom I often fear for growing up in this America, I felt like it was important to create imagery for them and children like them that would refute stereotypes and build their self-esteem by connecting them to heroes past and present who have and continue to pave the way. Imagery that would show them that contrary to what others may say or promote, that greatness exists within them. I wanted them to know that beyond the month of February, they have a rich heritage and plenty of examples to look to for inspiration of people who have and continue to blaze trails; individuals who look just like them.
Today, after photographing and engaging with over 650 children in less than a year, I am not only inspired by my boys, but I am also inspired by the hope and potential that all children possess. As we traveled the country engaging parents and children from all walks of life, we quickly realized that each child needs this message... regardless of their hue. There is a battle going on in each neighborhood, school and home and it is for the self-esteem of our young people. The same way that Because of Them We Can has helped expand the conversation in the African American community is the same way we want to expand the conversation in others. Children need to be introduced to all examples of excellence, whether that is through an image highlighting Charles Drew, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Albert Eistein, Connie Chung, Zora Neale Hurston, Susan B. Anthony, or Malala. There are numerous issues that divide us, however, wouldn't it be great if worked together to inundate children all over with these messages of excellence, accomplishment and responsibility.
And so, that is our goal... to create a banner of excellence that will boost the self-esteem and pride of all children. A banner that we can all lift together.
Beginning next week, we are excited to expand the Because of Them We Can campaign as we highlight a few individuals in celebration of Women's History Month, who have blazed trails. Thank you for supporting and allowing our growth.
Here are a few of the outtakes from our recent shoot. Tune in next week for the finals and more!