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The Co-founder Of Humanize My Hoodie Reflects On The Last Year

In May, IPR asked Iowansto share their perspectives about how life in the state has changed since George Floyd was murdered one year ago. One response came from Andre Wright, the cofounder of Humanize My Hoodie, a movement and advocacy organization that "empowers Black people to stand up against racial injustice," according to its website.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The views and opinions expressed are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Iowa Public Radio or its staff.

courtesy of Andre Wright
Andre Wright is the cofounder of Humanize My Hoodie, a movement and advocacy organization that "empowers Black people to stand up against racial injustice."

"I'm Andre Wright, in Iowa City, and I'm the co-founder of Humanize My Hoodie.

"It was crystal clear, after the murder of George Floyd, how much systematic racism that we still face today. I mean we know it exists, but I think it became explicit during that time. You could see the guilt, and you could see people's reactions with signs in the windows.

"Our conversation went from just us talking about us being humanized in a hooded sweatshirt to a conversation about what does liberation look like for us? And how do we free ourselves from this bondage of America systematic racism?

"We began to focus on our initiatives, and we led in a number of categories showing what a Black led organization should look like, and how two people can start something that could simply change the world if we were able to open our hearts and minds and believe and see a different world and feel a different world. And then we started to show people what that looked like by opening a space downtown Iowa City that we called the Black Liberation Space, where we really just created a sense of radical love and healing during a time where we really needed those things in our lives, you know, and a lot of people still need to feel that way.

"We got stronger allies and accomplices now that will help us carry on the work that me and my partner and co-founder Jason Sole started in 2017. So you know, you can see new new cultural competency workshops from us. You can see us empowering the youth. You can see us giving back to the fields that we're most passionate about, like for me graphic arts and fashion, and you know, building more fashion activists. And you can see it as having a lot more Black led organizations and businesses moving forward."

You can record and share your own story with IPR by emailing iowaamplified@iowapublicradio.org. Find more information here.

Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio