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I, Too, Am Harvard is a single topic blog featuring photographs of African American students at Harvard University holding whiteboards with racist and insensitive comments that have been said to them because of their race. Launched in early March 2014, the Tumblr-based photo project has since led to the creation of numerous spin-off blogs for minority students at other universities and colleges.
On March 1st, 2014, the Tumblr blog itooamharvard was created by Harvard sophomore student Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence. According to the blog’s profile description, Matsuda-Lawrence launched the project in part to promote her play of the same name, which premiered at Harvard’s Black Arts Festival on March 7th.
“A photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard.
All 63 photos in the collection were posted on March 1st, followed by the release of a behind-the-scenes video via YouTube on March 3rd. As of March 27th, the video has gained more than 160,000 views.
In less than 72 hours of the launch, the Tumblr blog received over 19,000 pageviews. On March 3rd, Buzzfeed published an article titled “63 Black Harvard Students Share Their Experiences In A Powerful Photo Project,” which featured every photo from the project as well as quotes from Matsuda-Lawrence on her experiences as a person of color at Harvard. On March 5th, the project was profiled by several major news sites, including The Washington Post, USA Today, and NowThisNews. In less than a month, the hashtag #Itooamharvard was tweeted out over 4,200 times. As of March 27th, I, Too, Am Harvard’s Facebook page has gained over 2,500 likes and its Twitter account has over 900 followers.
I, Too, Am Oxford
On March 10th, 2014, the Tumblr blog Itooamoxford launched, which features ethnic minority students from the English university holding whiteboards with racist comments that have been directed at them in the same style as ItooamHarvard. The blog credit’s Harvard’s photo project as their inspiration, saying:
“Our project was inspired by the recent ‘I, too, am Harvard’ initiative. The Harvard project resonated with a sense of communal disaffection that students of colour at Oxford have with the University. The sharing of the Buzzfeed article ‘I, too, am Harvard’ on the online Oxford based race forum, ‘Skin Deep’ led to students quickly self organising a photoshoot within the same week.”
The blog was covered by Buzzfeed, The Independent, and The Guardian. The photo project has since been picked up by many other universities, including the University of Cambridge, Yale University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University and New York University.
The Independant – ‘I, too, am Oxford’: The intricacies of racism today
The Washington Post – ‘I, Too, Am Harvard’: Black students show they belong
NowThisNews – “I, Too, Am Harvard” Campaign Gives Black Students a Voice":http://www.nowthisnews.com/news/i-too-am-harvard/
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