Daring to Dream: Because of Them We Can
A Q&A With Eunique Jones Gibson
Funny thing about inspiration — you can’t help but pass it on.
That has been the experience of Maryland-based photographer Eunique Jones Gibson. As a way to honor Black History Month in 2013, she created the “Because of Them, We Can” campaign, a series of photographs of children portraying iconic African-Americans that has evolved over time and is still going strong today. The campaign has captured the nation’s imagination, earning its own website, www.becauseofthemwecan.com, and prompting billboards, special events and photo shoots across the country.
So, we sat down with Eunique to learn more about how such an awesome movement came to be.
What inspired you to create “Because of Them, We Can?”
I was inspired by my sons, Chase and Amari Gibson. A few days before Black History Month, I began to reflect on their future and how bright it is as a result of the roads paved by individuals past and present.
What obstacles did you encounter while working on the campaign?
I didn’t plan the campaign. I got the idea a few days before February and was able to post a casting call and photograph all of the kids in time to launch one photo a day during Black History Month. Before the month was over, I realized how important it was to keep the campaign going beyond February. So my full-time job became the biggest obstacle. It was a difficult decision, just the thought of it scared me, but I chose to leave my full-time position and focus on the campaign.
What did you learn in creating these images?
I learned that it’s important to form a great team of people to help carry out your vision. My team helps me keep everything going. There is no way I could do it all by myself.
What do you want the campaign to achieve?
I want people, especially young people, to become curious when they see children channeling these real-life superheroes — to the point where they’ll eventually aspire to be like them or greater. I believe this campaign can build the esteem of our children and even adults simply by helping them see the greatness that exists within.