For over an year, our team has been working hard on creating the latest edition of The Beautiful Project Journal, which is an annual publication full of words and images captured by the women and girls in our collective.
This year’s issue is special because it centers the voices and perspectives of young writers and photographers who participated in our programs over the last couple of years. We hope this publication can be a tool for Black girls to feel encouraged in the pandemic and in these escalating times. May this journal give readers a brief reprieve from the pervasive racism around the world and help them refocus around their peace, power and voice.
Below, you will find an excerpt of the beautiful letter from this issue’s co-editor, Pamela Thompson. To read the full publication, as well as previous issues, visit here.
For the life of The Beautiful Project, it has been our honor to work for and with Black girls. Our work features Black girls and is aimed at highlighting and centering their beauty, wisdom, complexity and joy. Throughout time, we have refined and extended our programming and positioned writing and photography as tools the girls can use to express themselves and share with the world their remarkable perspectives and visions. Unlike the well-meaning adults of our youth, we have been careful not to repeat the mistake of creating worlds and work for girls without creating space for those girls to speak about, think through and create for themselves, alongside us.
Over the past few years, we have invested ourselves and our time in training girls and then yielding to their interpretations and ideas about how to use these tools and skills. This edition of The Journal is dedicated to the dreams and visions of the little girls and their families who trusted us to train them in the activist work of image making. We lift up their bold and remarkable iterations of what can be created by Black girls when we take the time to equip them, put our confidence in them and give them the prerogative to create through exploring photography and writing. We have been enlightened, thrilled, challenged and stretched in pursuit of connecting girls to their own brilliance and prowess by showing them how to do a thing and then stepping back and allowing them to do. the. thing.
This Journal is a manifestation of the minds and hearts of our young image makers. It is our intention to make space for our girls to quiet their inhibitions and distractions and connect with themselves in order to hear the whispers of their heart where stories are yearning to be told. Our dream is to see Black girls unencumbered, fiercely and courageously writing and documenting themselves into history.
We hope you enjoy.