Humanize My Hoodie

The Humanize My Hoodie Project was founded by Professor Jason Sole and Andre Wright (Born Leaders United Fashion Designer). Professor Sole, then an eight-year criminal justice professor, sought to challenge threat perceptions of students (n=97) at a Minnesota university. On August 14, 2017, Professor Sole took a family photo with several books stacked (e.g., The New Jim Crow, Just Mercy) on the kitchen table. The only difference was that he sported a hoodie. The photo was posted with this caption: “Humanize My Hoodie Project. In the fall, I plan to teach all of my courses in a hoodie. My goal is to help criminal justice students become more comfortable with black men and hoodies. I hope this project will shift paradigms and prevent future officer-involved shootings. I plan to do a pre- and post-survey to quantify the impact. Let me know what you think. I’m open to suggestions.” The response was overwhelming. Questions from people came in from all over the world. Amid the questions, Andre left a comment in the thread: Great idea. Now we need to spread that same idea to the masses. The two friends jumped on the phone and the project turned into a movement.

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The Movement originated from a demand to end the killing of Black and Indigenous People across the world. As descendants of slaves, we recognize how hoodies have been used to amplify the myth of Black criminality. Our mission is to debunk that stereotype by designing revolutionary social justice campaigns for Black and Indigenous People of Color to be HUMANIZED, not criminalized.

Humanize My Hoodie empowers Black people to stand up against racial injustice. The hoodie invites conversations and we are using the Humanize My Hoodie sweatshirt, as well as educational tools, to arm our marginalized communities with innovative ways to uplift humanity and fight against violence and racism. We do this by providing jobs for poor youth, providing hoodies for entire communities who’ve experienced hate; providing a platform for the formerly incarcerated to be seen as more than their criminal record. We also provide opportunities for others to become allies.

Allies and accomplices are essential partners in the movement for black lives. Racial justice and liberation only happens when truth plus accountability meet love. White folks who want to do the work often don’t know where to start or are worried they’ll do it wrong. That’s why we created the Humanize My Hoodie Training Series, which can be accessed via the Humanize My Hoodie website.