My name is Shawna Wells, and I am the Founder and CEO of B is for Black Brilliance. I am also an educator, a mom, a friend, and an executive coach.
I grew up in a world where I rarely saw Black people or Black brilliance in books, movies, or lessons. My school supplies often had non-Black characters displayed on them, and the heroes we talked about at school were rarely the same race as me.
When I became a teacher in 2004, I was shocked to see that not much had changed from my childhood. I looked everywhere for books and stories about Black characters for my students to read and learn about Black brilliance in meaningful ways. Then, I was reminded of my own reflections as a child and young adult. There were very few stories about Black brilliance being told in my school.
My experience matches the statistics: in 2017, only 11% of all children’s books featured a significant Black character which amounts to only 330 books—only 100 of which were written and illustrated by Black people. Further, only 2% of the characters on backpacks and school supplies were people of color.
I founded B is for Black Brilliance because it’s time to educate our children differently. B is for Black brilliance will equip caregivers, educators, Black kids, and kids (and parents) working in allyship with vibrant books, resources, and tools that affirm and celebrate Black history AND Black futures.