Erica Ford isn’t new to the scene.
The Queens-based activist — who’s labored alongside Tupac Shakur, Ja Rule, and DMX — has been targeted on reducing crime and conserving younger individuals out of jail for greater than three a long time.
“DMX was the primary mainstream artist to help my work,” Ford tells Bustle. “He was all the time interconnected with the younger individuals. Anytime I introduced a distinct group of youngsters to see DMX — he would give us tickets to exhibits — he would take time to return and speak to the children.”
For the reason that ’80s, Ford has been implementing packages on the bottom in Jamaica, Queens, that embody her mantra: “Peace is a way of life.” Right this moment, she is co-founder and CEO of LIFE Camp, a violence intervention and prevention group.
The group’s eye-catching orange buses — also called Peace Mobiles — are staffed with frontline employees who canvass communities, mediate conflicts, de-escalate gun violence, and mentor youth contributors.
Impressed by her message of peace, Ford partnered with activewear model Bandier on a capsule assortment. As a part of the collaboration, 100% of proceeds go to LIFE Camp and fund the group’s work on the bottom.
“The inspiration behind the gathering was the will for peace,” Ford says. “We launched the gathering [during] the peak of the pandemic as a approach to converse to the present state of affairs and unfold the message of unity towards gun violence and police brutality.”
Six gadgets spherical out the gathering, which options vibrant designs which can be throwback homages to post-civil rights period poster artwork, Sixties summer season of affection merchandise, and early ’90s live performance merch.
“Some transformative exhibits for me within the ’90s passed off in Roy Wilkins Park in Queens,” Ford says. “Tupac, Salt-N-Pepa, and Scorching 97’s Summer time Jam. I keep in mind a variety of tie-dye from these instances and was impressed to include it into the gathering. It jogged my memory of hip hopping down the block on the best way to the park jams.”
That power was additionally integrated within the photograph shoot, Ford says. “We had been doing handstands,” she says. “Rachel Noerdlinger, one of many girls, did half the shoot on her arms, and it was simply a good time.”
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In 2020, many industries, together with vogue, had been getting behind Black-owned businesses within the midst of the protests for racial justice. Ford believes the help has lasted.
“This motion has kickstarted a domino impact and given many companies and people nice publicity, permitting them to develop and mentor others consequently,” she says, citing the gathering with Bandier — and the keenness of the model’s founder, Jennifer Bandier — for instance. “I need to see extra manufacturers which have infrastructure and assets companion with nonprofits equivalent to ours,” she provides.
As a Black lady, Ford has overcome distinctive roadblocks to make sure that her voice and perspective are heard.
“I’m consistently being stereotyped, and choices are made about me based mostly on the truth that I’m a Black lady,” she says. “There’s no getting round that problem as a result of it’s who I’m. My ardour is usually misunderstood as anger and my dedication as management.”
She references a Malcom X quote — “Probably the most disrespected and unprotected lady in America is the Black lady” — to underscore her level.
“[Malcom X] stated that to spotlight the adverse methods by which Black girls are handled and the dangerous internalization of society’s loathing of who we’re,” she says. “Up till maybe just lately, the institutionalization of systemic racism towards Black girls has precipitated us to be heard by means of a filter of being ‘indignant,’ or unfit of regard, which causes our important voices to be dismissed versus regarded, even supposing we’ve got nourished, birthed, and contributed to the cultivation of this nation.”
https://www.bustle.com/model/erica-ford-bandier-gun-violence-prevention | The Erica Ford X Bandier Collab Will Profit Gun Violence Prevention