“Joy is something we can all share. It’s infectious. It’s also an act of resistance.”
Today, to magnify Black voices and work, a group of nearly 50 Black female activists, entrepreneurs and celebrities will be speaking from the Instagram accounts of white women. This effort is part of the #ShareTheMicNow campaign. I’m so thrilled that creative powerhouse Eunique Jones Gibson — the creator of Because of Them We Can, a platform that amplifies positive Black news — will be posting from my account! Follow along here… and read on for our chat.
Katie Couric: Eunique, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family! Why did you want to be part of #ShareTheMicNow?
Eunique Jones Gibson: I’m a wife, a mother of three amazing kids and I’m a full-time entrepreneur. Since 2013, my work has centered around building community through the celebration and uplift of Black culture. I have done this through the creation of the Because of Them We Can platform, through our Black history subscription box for kids and most recently, through the creation of a new party game called CultureTags.
I wanted to be a part of #ShareTheMicNow because I think it signals a shift beyond just having allies, to having white women who will co-conspire alongside Black women. I also think that we benefit as a country when we elevate voices and perspectives that have been overlooked and discounted. The Black women who are participating in #ShareTheMicNow have been doing the work for years, and yet so few people outside of the Black community know about them. This initiative can shine a necessary light on that work, and can accelerate it by engaging more people in our common goals. That’s important now, more than ever.
You have three adorable children. How have you been approaching conversations with them about the country’s current events?
We’ve been vulnerable and honest with the kids. First it was about the coronavirus and how this is a new space that we’re all navigating together. We made it clear that we didn’t have all of the answers but that no matter what, we’d figure it out as a family. And that’s what we’ve been doing… Then, as news of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd made headlines, our sons started asking us about protests and why people are protesting. Since they spent the last few weeks learning about the pandemic, we were able to help them see how racism is also a deadly virus. And that it isn’t something we can afford to ignore, even if other people act as if it doesn’t exist.
Since they were babies, we’ve inundated them with affirmations and information to help them understand they’re perfect just the way they are. And they’re learning that the protests and uprising are necessary to help everyone else to see (and treat them) the same.
You’re the founder of Because of Them We Can, a platform to amplify positive Black news. Why did you feel it was important to create this platform?
I created Because of Them We Can to address the fear and hope that I wrestled with as a mother of Black boys who will one day be Black men. At the time we were approaching the one year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s murder and the re-election of this country’s first African American president. Back then I felt like we over-indexed on news and images that didn’t resonate or reflect what I knew to be true about myself or my community. I wanted to create images and stories that refuted stereotypes while amplifying a narrative that felt more aligned with who we are and the potential that we possess individually and collectively. Now we reach millions of people each month with nothing but positive Black stories and images. That’s the representation that matters to me because it’s real.
You’ve come up with a way to make learning fun. Tell us about the boxes you’ve created for kids!
Absolutely! Because Black history is American history, it’s important for children of all races to have an opportunity to learn it beyond Black history month. However, in order to make it memorable, it has to be fun and engaging. That’s what the Because of Them We Can Box is for kids.. Each month the box is focused on a trailblazer of the past or present, and comes with apparel, toys, artifacts and tools that relate to that person’s story. They can essentially transform into that person with the items we give them! The learning is reinforced with challenges and our version of a “fun page” that includes reading and math problems to help our minis sharpen their skills.
This month the kids are learning about Muhammad Ali. They received a T-shirt with one of his famous sayings, hand wraps, a jump rope, a water bottle that says “I’m The Greatest,” a sticker sheet and lapel pin. Next month is The Harlem Renaissance! It’s great because the parents learn with the kids. I think one of the cool things about the box is the fact that each child gets a letter from Bernice King welcoming them and encouraging them to embrace the opportunity to learn about other trailblazers in addition to her father.
You’re determined to infuse everything you do with joy. Why?
Because joy is something we can all share. It’s infectious. It’s also an act of resistance. No matter how hard or long the days are, it’s important that we find a little joy when and where we can. It’s like an energy boost that helps us to keep going, to remain optimistic and most of all to keep fighting for whatever it is we’re working to achieve.
This originally appeared on Medium.