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Compelling visuals illustrate local discussions about equity

Mar 14, 2017

If you've been to Interact for Health recently, you've likely noticed the large-scale posters hanging in our lobby. They're examples of graphic notetaking from a series of meetings about equity in Greater Cincinnati.

When Senior Program Officer Jaime Love was scouting Starfire Council as a location for the first meeting, she met Brandon Black, an employee there.

"He offered to do graphic notetaking for us, so that he could sit in on the session and capture the essence of the meeting in his drawings," Love says.

The marriage of art and equity was a perfect fit for Black. He's been an artist since childhood and studied art his first two years at Miami University. While there he became interested in social justice, which led to stints in AmeriCorps and at Bridges for a Just Community.

"Since then I've believed that equity is something worth working towards," Black says. "Real barriers persist and ensuring that all residents have equal opportunity is in the best interests of our city and nation."

Black's posters from that first meeting were so well-received that he was invited to two other meetings to do graphic notetaking. The five drawings document discussions about what equity means here, its biggest barriers, what topics need to be discussed, how equity work has evolved since the 2001 uprising in Cincinnati and the direction that work should go in the future.

Black says that graphics are a powerful and highly effective way to communicate.

"They can supplement, amplify or embody any message," Black says. "Visuals are easy to absorb, share and spread, a natural complement to our social media, meme-trending society."

Black will soon resume "illustrating what's on the hearts and minds of people" through his communication art business, Drawnversation.

We encourage you to take a moment to look at the posters and reflect on Greater Cincinnati's equity journey.

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