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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Social Justice For Us presents photo series “Power in Unity” celebrating Black History Month

Photo series promo photo for the Social Justice For Us series, Power in Unity.
Photo courtesy of Fred Sims of Social Justice For Us POWER IN UNITY – As part of the ongoing aim to uplift the voices of marginalized voices in Marquette, Social Justice For Us presents the photo series for Black History Month to showcase African Americans of the Marquette community.

For the month of February, Social Justice For Us will be presenting the photo series “Power in Unity” to showcase African Americans who are Marquette community members as part of the annual Black History Month celebration. The photo series was started by Fred Sims, executive director for Social Justice For Us, as a tribute to those in the Marquette community.

Sims, who has been living in Marquette for almost a decade, said that he has never seen someone who looked like him on a billboard, commercial or in upper management.

“It’s very important that we broadcast these people who live in this community and contribute because these are people you see in your everyday life,” Sims said. “We’ve been living in the shadows for so long and forgotten and not heard. This wasn’t needed but also it was time. It’s time we did something with this.” 

The current photo series “Power in Unity” broadcasts the African American presence in the Marquette community by having a member of the community choose a word that empowers them and explain why. As part of the promo for the series, Sims chose the word “unity.”

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“Unity is the essence of commune. Our individuality is what makes the community thrive. Together, we achieve greatness,” Sims said.

The series will run throughout the month of February and feature 28 different community members. Each post in the series will feature a full body shot, headshot, as well as artwork of the word chosen and an explanation.

Jeni Ihrke, the photographer for the “Power in Unity” photo series, was approached by Sims to contribute to the project. Ihrke hopes that the African American members of Marquette are heard, understood and fully respected.

“I hope for many members of our community to take the time to listen, to hear, take action and overall give respect to the messages that are being said,” Ihrke said. “In my opinion, doing these things will make a difference in bringing us together and it’s not something that can be done passively,”

SJFU is a nonprofit organization that was created by Sims after the George Floyd shooting to raise awareness of social justice issues, educate the community and offer resources to those in need. According to the SJFU GoFundMe page, the organization’s aim is to combat the oppression of minorities, including but not limited to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+. 

“While our most pressing issue is the Black Lives Matter movement, we also focus on educating the public and affecting change within our Marquette community,” stated the SFJU GoFundMe page.

While the “Power in Unity” photo series is for Black History Month, Sims said that there are more ideas for the future to come, one of them being to start a black network for the Marquette community.

“The network would utilize our people and it’s important to establish a strong network that when people like us come in they don’t feel so isolated and so alone,” Sims said.

To check out the “Power in Unity” photo series or more questions regarding SFJU, follow their Facebook page to get in contact with Sims or additional members of SJFU.

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