See In Black: Using the camera’s lens to fund the future

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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA–See in Black started this past summer in New York in response to the events surrounding George Floyd’s death. They are a collective of 80 African American photographers who are using their talent to take snapshots of black America and then auctioning off the pictures to help donate a half a million dollars across five organizations in different communities in the country.

“See In Black is a collective of Black photographers who uplift and invest in Black visibility. Through the sale of highly-curated prints from Black photographers, we raise funds that support five key pillars of Black advancement: civil rights, education/arts, intersectionality, community building, and criminal justice reform.”

Micaiah Carter is one of See in Black’s Co-founders and says, “when everything was heightened with the Black Lives Matter movement this year and the response with COVID-19 print sales, we thought we should create something within our own community that’s showcased our work in order to give back.”

Starting in 2004 as one the first juvenile re-entry programs, the Youth Empowerment Project or “YEP” in New Orleans provides mentoring, adult education, job training and after school programs. YEP received $95,389.51 from the See in Black art auction.

Darrin McCall is the Chief Program Officer for YEP and says, “it’s a significant contribution to our work and our mission for sure. Especially during a year of economic uncertainty. We have some funders that have doubled down and some that weren’t able to give as much.”

“When we were deciding which organizations to give back to, we wanted to make sure they hit those five pillars that we feel are important to black communities all over the world,” says Micaiah Carter.

Like the civil rights journalism of the 60’s, See in Black puts photography directly in the middle of a dialogue on race in America, while helping to fund change.

Darrin McCall explains the demographics of YEP saying, “you know 97 percent of the people we serve identify as African American. A majority of them report earning less than ten thousand dollars as their annal income. There’s so much potential, power and natural interests that young people have. The thing that young people in many urban city’s are missing are pathways to advancement.”

See In Black hopes to continue the work in helping the community and they are currently thinking of working on gathering all of the prints sold this summer and making a book of photography.

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