TEXAS – Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, Barack Obama, Frederick Douglass, and George Washington Carver are among the names of prominent African-American leaders who’ve impacted history, and whose stories are shared during Black History Month.
However, there are some stories that aren’t in any history book, but they are the stories most of us know through national news pieces or social media blasts.
One Houston area woman is preserving the memories and images of modern-day African-Americans whose lives impacted American and Black History in the early 21st Century.
Dr. Myeshi Briley, who previously served as the President and CEO of the Spring-Klein Chamber of Commerce, has created a non-profit called 1 Voice 1 Blanket that sheds light on injustices against African-Americans in modern history.
“This is not a popular topic,” Briley told Patch. “But I look at this as love. This is not the type of thing you talk about at work.”
The blanket sits folded in a large box next to Briley as she sips a steaming latte. She’s reluctant to take it out just yet.
She has a lot to say about the blanket, its purpose and the story of how all of this started, because the message of the blanket is as important as the background of how it all began.
She pulls open the box to allow a peek, and the first glance is breathtaking.
The blanket is a field of blue with the images of African-Americans who either lost their lives as a result of police brutality, died at the hands of police, or lost their lives violently.
Most Americans remember the names of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and their images are on that blanket and depict many of them with radiant smiles.
“This movement came about three years ago in my heart when I kept seeing things on the news about brown and black people being killed,” she said. “I had questions.”
Those questions raised more questions about the disconnect and subsequent division between the black community and the white community.
Briley said her questions led to more questions, and then she wondered: “How many deaths have there been, and how many have I missed?”
“I started to find cases that had never ever hit the news,” she said.
She stayed up late reading, researching and learning, about these people. As she researched, Briley said she thought about creating this blanket.
She worked with an artist to sketch the images of those that were added to the field of that blanket.
Once the blanket was finished, she began traveling with it and sharing the stories that Briley hopes will unite everyone. So far, there are 80 images on the blanket.
The goal is to travel throughout the U.S., particularly to universities or museums, and share the story of the blanket, and this can serve as a uniter.
Briley said as long as people keep dying, she will keep adding their images, to ensure they are not forgotten.
“There is a healing process to this,” she says. “Everyone needs to heal, whether they black, whie or brown. ”
She said she has had several who appreciated the artistic and cultural value, offer to buy the blanket, but she has turned them all down.
“This is priceless,” she said. “I will never sell it.”
To learn more about 1Voice 1 Blanket, visit Facebook.