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York Tech grad launches photo series putting spotlight on Black community members

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Angela Gonzalez has launched a photography campaign, "I Am Not A Threat," featuring portraits of Black community members, Wednesday, September 23, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

After the Black Lives Matter resurgence that followed the death of George Floyd in May, York City native Angela Gonzalez said she knew she wanted to get involved in her own way.

A recent graduate of the York County School of Technology with four years of photography experience under her belt, Gonzalez combined her passion for photos with social justice, launching her campaign "I Am Not A Threat."

"I noticed that cities across the country were performing their own protests and rallies, but I didn't feel comfortable organizing my own," she said. "I can find my own ways to advocate."

Her photo campaign invites Black members of the York County community to take a photo with a do-it-yourself sign that reads "I am." Photographed individuals can fill in the blank with whatever phrase or words they would like to say.

For example, some held signs with phrases like "I am a future firefighter" and "I am my ancestor's testimony."

"It's presenting people in a new light," Gonzalez said. "People really took the prompt and ran with it."

In addition to her photo series, Gonzalez is running an online store to raise money for organizations that help Black community members. 

Angela Gonzalez has launched a photography campaign, "I Am Not A Threat," featuring portraits of Black community members, Wednesday, September 23, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Several apparel designs that Gonzalez made herself showcase phrases  such as "I Am Not A Threat" and Martin Luther King Jr. quotes.

Within the first few weeks of launching the clothing line, Gonzalez raised $520, with 100% of proceeds going to Color of Change, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization.

Since then, she's transitioned to raising funds for the NAACP.

While her campaign is focused on Black individuals, Gonzalez said she's interested in branching out to other marginalized groups, too.

Gonzalez will be taking free photos of community members at 5 p.m. Sunday at The Parliament Arts Organization, located at 116 E. King St. 

Additional information regarding the project can be found at her website.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.