I Am Just Like U Campaign
The intention behind the I Am Just Like U campaign is to be storytellers of the every day heartfelt black male and help communicate the reality of the healthy and productive lives they are living out with integrity through a series of unique and simple images.
We will admit that the need for this campaign was sparked not only by the Trayvon Martin case and the tragedy that happened with such a young life, but also years of working with and mentoring so many creative, capable, and amazing young black men.
…” and this is a long-term project — we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African American boys… There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?”… President Obama
President Obama’s statement inspired us to think bigger. It inspired us to create a project that could tell true stories about the young black males across our country. Words and images have a profound and long lasting affect on how we perceive things and people. It is time to tell these stories differently and flip the perception many carry.
We believe that we are all one people. We are put on this earth to work together, learn from each other and about ourselves, continually growing. Though there have been many accomplishments and great strides with the civil rights movement, we still have an unspoken (or sometimes spoken) prejudice or preconceived notion about black males. We are not claiming that every black male is perfect and doing things right, but simply to point out that there are not enough images, characters or role models highlighted to really outshine the negative stereotype.
The black men we have known throughout our lives and those we have gotten to know over the course of starting this campaign are just like you. They are inspiring fathers, strong businessmen, faithful husbands, creative innovators, compassionate teachers and community members. I Am Just Like U helps tell and put a face to these stories to encourage and inspire todays generation to live life to the fullest.
The I Am Just Like U campaign is invaluable because it is time to make a greater impact on society and impress upon those without much diversity in their lives to peel away the pre-judgment and start connecting.
Our hope is that this campaign will save a life or give someone perspective – be who you were created to be, not what society has categorized as a stereotype. We want to begin an honest and heartfelt dialogue – open wide the doors of communication and go to the heart of the matter…truly (blind to color) love our fellow humans. This, after all, is a humanity campaign.
We are asking everyone to STAND UP, SHARE these photos and SPONSOR our next photo shoot. We are producing more photo shoots around the country so we can showcase more men and their stories. Stay in touch with us to find out when we arrive in your city.
Let’s show these young men that America does care about them enough to look past the stereotype and see them as individuals.
We hope this campaign inspires people to respond with kindness and think twice about dismissing someone, accusing someone or being in fear of someone based on the color of their skin.
Love & Light
Founder – Kelley Raleigh
Co-Founder – Edi Gathegi