The book is out
We are very happy to announce that the book Taking a Knee for Change has been published. It is a book that brings together a wide selection of photographs and personal statements from Mainers working to end racism and secure social justice locally and nationally.
We thank everyone who was involved in the second phase of the kneeling art photography project. We've worked hard to bring Maine communities a high-quality coffee table book that educates, challenges viewpoints, and promotes tolerance. A book that will inspire people to move from thought to action, to self-activism, to feeling compassion, and to standing up for justice and equality alongside minorities.
We sincerely thank Creative Portland for being our first laboratory of ideas and energy in the embryonic phase of the book. We thank our new sponsor UMVA for the trust and determination to support us for the second stage of the project.
Taking a Knee for Change aims to promote humanist and social action in the communities of Maine as a response to the local problems of racism and injustices. This project promotes the tradition of solidarity that exists in Maine by showing the commitment of the populations for justice and equality. This book will provide contemporary and future generations with models of leadership and civic engagement.
What began as a response to the agonizing events of the past few years has become a way to humbly, but powerfully, amplify the common hunger for social justice among a diverse group of individuals living in our state. It is a chronicle of what it means to “take a knee” in our own times and contains voices that reflect universal truths about our shared humanity.
My idea for this project arose from a simple question: “What does it mean to take a knee?” Soon after fleeing my home country of Gabon for asylum in Portland in 2015, I saw a man get down on bent knee to propose marriage to his girlfriend. Bubbling up from deep in my soul was a question – this gesture that the American culture uses as a powerful expression of love, how could it also be used as a weapon? We all know that George Floyd was killed when the police officer put his knee on his neck. I couldn't understand how these images – kneeling for love, kneeling for murder, and kneeling for protest – could coexist.
The three main goals that we want to explore through the "Taking a Knee for Change" book and our workshops in schools, institutions and other venues are:
- How human values can be strengthened through humanistic and social action in Maine communities in response to local issues of racism and injustice.
- How to promote and intensify the tradition of solidarity that exists in Maine through the commitment of communities for justice and equality alongside minorities.
- How to highlight inspiring stories of commitment to justice and equality from Mainers to serve as role models of leadership and civic engagement that contemporary and future generations can relate to.
The audiences we are targeting in our project are Maine residents who want to bring about change through social action and civic engagement, activists and organizations advocating for justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, students, readers and Maine political institutions.
We are very happy to see beautiful energies following one another and mobilizing around this work of conception and publication of the book. This enthusiasm and the support of the community is a powerful leitmotif that pushes us so far to overcome the many challenges we encounter along the way.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the team that is working hard to bring Maine communities a high-quality coffee table book that educates, challenges viewpoints and promotes tolerance. A book that will inspire people to move from thought to action, to self-activism, to feeling compassion and to committing to justice.
The "Taking a Knee for Change" book publishing project is part of a larger project called "The Kneeling Art Photography Project" which has 5 branches:
- Photographic exhibitions and round tables entitled "The Kneeling Art Photography Project"
- Publication of the book "Taking a Knee for Change" and workshops on civic engagement
- Design and imagination workshop for the creation of a superhero character that will later be the subject of a graphic novel entitled: "Take a knee with the Superhero."
- Creation of an online laboratory for the development and exploration of new concepts and strategies to end injustices in the state of Maine using art as a tool for awareness and change.
- Giving voice to both the marginalized and the privileged