Change Starts With Us: A Collage Of Voices
During a year of division among Americans, Marc and Lisa Young saw an opportunity for unity. “The idea was ignited by our friend, Jen, who like many of us was incredibly shaken by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We all agreed that change was necessary and needed to start internally.”
The Youngs believe that through greater awareness and understanding of social justice issues, people from across the country can be brought together around the same cause and ideal—that all people are created equal and deserve to be treated as such.
It began with a social media campaign and a hashtag that encompassed the heart of the movement—#ChangeStartsWithUs. “Initially we asked followers on social media to submit pictures with signage with supportive messages or calls to action. Lisa then created a collage using the 35 submitted photos.”
The collage alone, which Marc shared on his Instagram page, expressed a powerful message, but the Youngs knew there was even more that they could say, and more ways they could share. Lisa, an artist and photographer by trade, started by creating a design and setting up a t-shirt fundraiser with Custom Ink, where the proceeds would all go to Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy organization fighting to strengthen the political voices of African Americans.
The fundraiser was a huge success, selling more than 160 t-shirts to support their cause, leading the Youngs to believe that people were taking an interest in making a change. They set up a second fundraiser to support the Grassroots Law Project, and then began to look for new ways to reach their fans who were looking for ways to make a change.
They decided the most important thing to do was to connect with people more directly. They wanted to offer people a safe space where they could learn and engage with others in a way that allowed them to enact real change. “We launched a Zoom discussion welcoming more than 90 participants from across the country to partake in a thoughtful (at times uncomfortable) discussion about race, racism, social injustice, privilege, and closed with resources for guests.”
This first gathering was met with overwhelmingly positive feedback that many of the participants expressed a strong interest in a second discussion. “We recognized the need to focus on the discussion which led to a second ‘town hall’ focusing on Education. The discussion included panel members who serve as educators in K-12 and higher education.” Through both of these discussions the Youngs were able to instill more confidence in their allies and provide access to resources and links that would help people go out and spread what they had learned for themselves.
Marc and Lisa know that there is still a lot of work to be done before every person can enjoy equal liberty and justice, but until then, they are proud to be part of a conversation that is moving the country forward and helping to bring about change for the better. “We’ve learned that we have a responsibility to be a part of the change and that we can use our voices and artistic talents to spread awareness and bring about change.”
Follow Marc and Lisa Young on Instagram or see more of Lisa’s photography on her website.