Awarded the 2016 Shorty Award for Best in Civic Engagement, #IAMTHEMANY is an art-fueled digital and social media campaign which began with a crowd sourced poster drive and ended with a show at the White House. Created by ACT/ART, a non-profit that uses the power of art to inspire positive change, #IAMTHEMANY uses the tradition of poster art combined with the reach of social media as a means to spark a conversation about insitutionalized racism in the justice system. Inspired by the 1968 civil rights “I AM A MAN” labor protest, #IAMTHEMANY is designed to assert the same crucial tenets: universal right to justice, humanity and freedom.
#IAMTHEMANY solicited designs from the art community around the theme of institutionalized racism. A final selection of the artists’ works was chosen for display at the White House by a jury of art luminaries and social justice advocates including Shepard Fairey, Chuck D, Morgan Spurlock and Dream Corps founder Van Jones. The work was displayed along the public White House Tour in October 2015. The general public was also invited to participate in the campaign through a crowdsourcing platform which allows users to instantly create their own I AM posters.
Accompanied by deeply personal stories, thousands of submissions were received and shared making #IAMTHEMANY a virtual public square for creative expression and discussion about racism in America. Celebrities and influencers including Nicole Richie and Russel Simmons created personal posters amplifying the reach of the campaign. To see the artwork click here.
Phil Delbourgo is a co-founder of ACT/ART, a non profit dedicated to social impact through art.