Thanks to Eunique Jones Gibson, black kids can dream, imagine and aspire to become what they want. Gibson shows them their future by presenting their past. In 2013, she founded WEF Them We Can, a platform that teaches children the black and historic excellence in history – and in the present – that they do not usually know in school or in school. the media. Having started with a series of photos, Jones was able to expand the brand by making parents, educators and others aware of the facts about the giants of Black history. She approaches the brand by doing things "at the Woodson", seeking the inspiration of Black History Month's father, Carter G. Woodson. Gibson is reconquering that the limited narrative society has given black history to blacks by attacking revisionism head-on with facts that show our story is not monolithic. As part of the "We Built This" series of HuffPost Black Voices, Gibson told us about the Of Them We Can Foundation, "his new subscription box and the role of education in the demonstration of potential of black children. I've built, thanks to them, we can, a platform and an ongoing campaign to consistently showcase the history and excellence of blacks. Thanks to them, we can start as a series of photos and grow. What was this idea, creation, behind that and the caller because of Them We Can?For so long, we have said that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. For me, thanks to them, we can be a way to capture that feeling and make it real for anyone. It started with me as a mother of two black boys knowing that they would become black men and really want to create content and pictures that could surround them and help them develop their self-esteem by rooting them. in their history and where they were. come from and from the DNA to which they are inextricably linked and that there is greatness in this DNA.There are so many things that have been erased from our history. What was your experience seeing children see these photos and campaigns that you distributed with Them We Can?Seeing children react to images is probably the best part of this type of work because they are excited to learn from people they have never heard of. They are excited to understand that they are related to these people. Children who play this role, as well as children who watch and consume the content. That's why we went back to the kids regarding the subscription boxes and trying to give them a way to touch and feel the story beyond Black History Month. The campaign started in February 2013. Before the end of the month I knew it was more than a series of photos, to the point that I left my job. Six years later, we are in a position where it is very clear that we need content like this, not just online, not just on the Internet, not just in a digital space. When you interact with young people and you see them somehow disconnected from their identity and origin, we realized that there was a greater opportunity to extend offline content. We started doing things like going to the classrooms and using my book to teach them what makes history by showing them other kids pretending to be the same people we gave them. taught. From there we realized, you know what? There is a real opportunity to expand this, to make it grow and to really make children understand that we should talk about black history and their excellence on a daily basis, because black history is done every day. Black excellence appears every day. We embody it and we exude it. The only way to continue is if we continue to tell what we are talking about.
Numeric properties, of course, are extremely important. I mean, four-year-olds now have an iPhone. In addition, I think it's really essential that you have this tangible presence, especially now through your subscription. Why did you decide to integrate that and what's in the boxes?Digital content, we know that adults really consume it, whether it's a story about black excellence or the content we create. We also receive emails systematically. People contact me and say, "I show my students the videos you've made. They are awesome. Can you do more? When I went to school systems and talked to parents and teachers, they said, "We need more content. We need more material like this. I really started thinking more about these conversations because I knew I could not reproduce. Right? I knew that it would be very difficult to send, at a given moment, the same message to all these schools or these children. It was like, do you know what? A subscription box. This would give every child whose parents have already sent an email saying, "Can my child participate in your campaign?" "Oh my God, my child loves Spike Lee." "Oh, my God, my child needs to know Zora Neale Hurston." Anyway, it gives them the opportunity to make it real for them at home in a consistent way, every month there's a theme for Black History Month, it's the cause of Carter G. Woodson, Carter G. Woodson, his life and everything that goes on in the world are at the heart of this box. Also, the children of this box, for example, who created the Journal of Negro History, receive a diary from my story where they come to personalize it for themselves. Valentine's Day where it is written: "You are the craziest dream of your ancestor and mine too." Or "Would you like to love, peace and soul." They also receive pins, toys and collectibles that allow them to on the likeness of that person and go through the activities s that are in the box to understand who this person is and why it needs to know who she is. The box is a way to teach black history through a theme every month and give children clothes, toys, accessories and tools to really make it real. It's for all children. It's not fair for black kids. It's a way for every month to learn black history through a theme and give children clothes, toys, accessories and tools to make it real. It's for all children. It's not fair for black kids. It is the consumption of all children so that they can learn this information.So much of what we know about ourselves has been erased and left out textbooks, excluded from Black History Month or black history celebrations in general. I think of the children's excitement to see themselves reflected in Mae Jemison or these other giants of Black History. For those who may not understand the seriousness of what it means to be proud of their story, can you explain why it is important for black children to be reflected in the story?It is important that black children are reflected in history and are reflected today in the right-wing perspective. What happens is that black kids are always reflected They see pictures of themselves all the time, but these pictures are not always positive. These images are not always precise or edifying. It is important for them to see each other under a light that we know to be true to them. It is important for black children to see themselves as doctors, lawyers, engineers, creators, artists, pioneers, builders of this country that we know to be. It is important that they understand this and that they see it. It is important for me to create the type of content that will help them not only to feel it, but also to know who they are. Know who Carter G. Woodson was or George Washington Carver or Zora Neale Hurston or Harriet Tubman or Mae Jemison or other people we still know. We still find hidden numbers today. This is extremely important because it will help them to really understand their power and potential. We will have fewer children who are lost as a result. Your browser does not support this video.What do you remember learning about our story when you were a kid?I remember Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember Rosa Parks. I remember Harriet Tubman and I remember the slaves. That's all. When I was a child, our history in school and textbooks was relegated to these stories and individuals. While I appreciate the accomplishments and tracks that these people have gone through, I also recognize that our story is not limited to these people. Nor has our history begun with slavery. It's something that I want to change. It's something that so many people want to change. I think for them we can as a platform and a tool to do it.Who are the black story makers, the ancestors, the elders, who do you talk to who continue to inspire your work?The old ones I look at first are at home. They would be my grandparents. It would be Maxine Jefferson and Burnetta Jones and Raymond Jones. It would be my family. Beyond my family, they are individuals like Carter G. Woodson. I think we should do things the way Woodson does. It's really knowing our contributions, knowing our history, knowing what we are doing and ensuring that others know it and that we are constantly speaking out so that Black history becomes what we do, and uplifting and enlightening. we speak on a 365 day basis. There are people living and walking right now who continue to inspire, like your Debbie Allens or Oprah Winfreys, your Ava DuVernays. Spike Lee is a person who inspires me a lot because I believe he has taken a very creative and non-traditional approach to bringing some conversations to the fore. He continues to do that. It would probably be one of my biggest inspirations today, currently working in the world. Then, of course, our Forever FLOTUS. Our 44, of course, continues to inspire and really show us what is possible, to really show us what grace looks like under fire, to really show us what the excellence of blacks looks like. This is an example that I am so happy that we have. This is an example that, eight years ago, never existed on a platform as we saw it, but it was everyday. We had our own little example of President Barack Obama or Michelle Obama in our individual lives. There are members of the community and people in schools and neighborhoods who are excellent, just as they are. I'm glad they were put on a platform to explain its existence.When all is said and done, what do you want to accomplish because of Them We Can?The "may". When all is said and done, what I want to accomplish through Them, we can, is that people understand who these "them" are. That we can do everything we put our mind. In the end, thanks to Them We Can, I want young black kids to feel empowered, inspired and that there is no limit to what they aspire to do or to become. I want other people of different races to truly recognize and understand all that we have built and the power that exists within our community and, for once, suspend and pause in all the false stories. Photoshoot produced by Christy Havranek. Audio production by Nick Offenberg and Sara Patterson. Hair and makeup by Monae Everett.
- This article appeared originally on HuffPost.