9 beautiful photos that push back on awful stereotypes of black men.

Following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers, photographer Bryon Summers felt heartbroken and frustrated.

As an African-American man, he felt that working toward a solution was a matter of life and death. But he felt typical methods like marches and demonstrations weren't having an immediate impact. Instead, he took a different tack.

"I wanted to approach the problem of misrepresentation of Black men in mainstream media," he wrote in an email. "Photography is my medium of choice and with social media at our fingertips today, we can all choose what is newsworthy instantly."


So Summers changed the narrative.

Hassan, Thank you for taking back your image. We love you. . #WeLoveYouNYC #TheWeLoveYouProject

A photo posted by We Love You (@theweloveyouproject) on

He decided to photograph 1,000 black men and post their portraits in an online gallery. He called it the We Love You Project.

"I figured if I can photograph 1,000 black men and we all post them online in solidarity, it can borrow elements of marching to take back our image," he said.

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

Summers' goals for the project are ambitious, but what creative movement isn't? He's getting people talking on the We Love You Project site and Instagram page.

Here are nine of Summers' portraits, with an important message:

1. You are truly remarkable.

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

2. And worthy of our respect and admiration.

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

3. We are so glad you're here.

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

4. And we love to see you happy, healthy, and safe.

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

5. And we will never stop pushing...

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

6. ...to make this country one that is worthy of you.

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

7. Because you are thought about.

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

8. You are prayed for.

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

9. Quite simply, you are loved.

Photo by Bryon Summers, used with permission.

So far, Summers has worked with 360 participants in New York City and Washington, D.C. In the photos, each man and child wears a black shirt and poses in front of a white background.

Their appearance is intentionally uniform so viewers can hone in — not on clothes or location — but on the participant's humanity.

"The participants come from all walks of life but you won’t be able to tell [who's] a police officer from [who's] a school teacher," Summers wrote.

"They’re all Black men and they’re all human."

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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