I remember living in rio de janeiro, brazil and very seldom experiencing someone outside of my immediate family who found my curly hair or "not-so-light" skin beautiful.
"True beauty" was when you were fortunate enough to be born with white skin and straight hair. After living in the United States for several years, I began to appreciate the numerous movements that educate and celebrate the country's African culture. These events led me to think about my native country and how much of it is influenced by the Africans who were taken from their homes to be sold into slavery; and even after they were "freed," racism continued to flourish.
Recently, there has been an increase in media attention on those of African descent in Brazil; however, the issue is still just as serious as it has always been. I was motivated to start a project that brings awareness to Brazilians of African descent after a few conversations with individuals studying to become educators who were not aware that Afro- Brazilians existed. This bothered me. I decided to come up with a way to combine my talents with the idea of increasing awareness while including people who suffer from racism in Brazil.
In November 2015, I was selected to be a part of the Professional Association for Design's (AIGA) Mentorship Program. The program pairs students with mentors who are professional designers and provides them with the opportunity to work on a self-promotional piece. This magazine became my self-promotional piece. Although it tells the stories of others, they are all very much connected to me. It has been a tremendous journey and a humbling experience.
My purpose is to encourage love and acceptance; ignorance breeds hate and hate is what fuels racism. I was able to collaborate with amazing people who did not hesitate to share their stories and be completely transparent with me. I'm very thankful for this opportunity and plan on pursuing it beyond the program.