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Black Stories

Brittany Kaufmann Envisions “A Brand New Vibrant and Electrifying World”

In 2024, Everytown piloted its first photovoice initiative, passing the mic to selected Black youth participants during Black History Month. This photovoice initiative is inspired by Afrofuturism, blending photography and storytelling to envision a future where Black individuals thrive in safe, vibrant neighborhoods. Afrofuturism, rooted in art and culture, offers a lens to reimagine and shape narratives that transcend existing limitations.

Photovoice is a participatory research and empowerment method that combines photography and storytelling to amplify the voices of marginalized communities. Participants use photography as a tool to capture and share their lived experiences, fostering dialogue and advocacy for positive change. 

We presented two key questions to guide the participants:

  1. Imagine how your life can be different without the threat of gun violence in your neighborhood. How can that be represented through a photograph?
  2. In what ways does your personal narrative and cultural background contribute to reshaping the story of safety in your community through an Afrofuturstic lens?  

For Brittany Kaufmann (she/they), a world without gun violence is one that we work toward in stages, building strong bonds among communities as we open ourselves to “a brand new vibrant and electrifying world” that awaits an America free from gun violence. 

Continue reading to view Brittany’s reflections prompted by this project. 

Answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Everytown: What was the most powerful or meaningful aspect of this photovoice project for you? Why?

Brittany Kaufmann: The most powerful aspect of this project for me was envisioning and capturing what a world free of gun violence looks like to me, a wounded gun violence survivor. This project helped me regain some of my power by taking back more control of my life.

How did the project influence your thinking about gun violence and safety in your community?

This project influenced my thinking about gun violence and safety in my community by reminding me to keep speaking up. There are days when it seems that no one is paying attention, but this project reminded me that in order to achieve what we want, we have to continue to share. By sharing these photos, I hope that it inspires others to want to work toward creating safe and strong communities.

“Cast Hands”

In a future free of gun violence, I imagine a world that is strong, solid, and cannot be broken. It can crack; there may be hardships and events that are out of our control. However, a future where people feel safe enough to help one another is a future that brings communities together. To me, when communities are brought together it creates an everlasting bond to empower and care for one another, and that takes strength.

How did you use an Afrofuturistic lens to imagine and represent a different life without the threat of gun violence in your neighborhood?

I tried to incorporate an Afrofuturistic lens by using a photo that represents strength and power. To me, the strength of the Black community is a key component in creating a life without the threat of gun violence, because it is our lives that are threatened by this crisis at exponentially higher rates. We have used our strength to create a safe society, and we will continue to do so.

In what ways did your cultural background influence your creative approach to reshaping the story of safety in your community?

I believe that my personal background influenced my creative approach rather than my cultural background. As a wounded survivor, there was a time when I used to fear leaving my house. This guided me toward trying to capture the world that is waiting beyond my front door, the world I once wandered freely. Freedom and space are two words that come to mind when I imagine a world free from gun violence.


When I think about growth, I often tend to think about flowers, or plants in general. This growth happens in stages, and that is what I imagine a future free from gun violence looks like: Progressive stages. The fight to end gun violence will not be won overnight. This photo serves as a reminder to me that everything takes time, and we have to be willing to go through the stages.

What did you learn about yourself through this project?

Through this project, I learned a few things about myself: 

  • I’m not always the most patient when it comes to change;
  • My ambition can be a blessing and a curse; and 
  • I have a true passion for being a social justice activist. 

How has this experience impacted your understanding of the power of visual storytelling and imagination in addressing community issues?

This experience served as a reminder that a photo holds an abundance of power: It can say without speaking what we may struggle to put into words. A photograph can be an inspiration, or it can be a symbol of resistance. I’m reminded that each photo I have taken throughout this project has the potential to influence others—and that is truly powerful.

“Vibrant Dream”

This photo envisions a future free from gun violence by highlighting and embracing the light we will find as a nation. I chose this photo because it embodies what I believe to be “the light at the end of the tunnel.” Once we have ended gun violence for good, there is a brand new vibrant and electrifying world waiting for us.

How do you hope your photographs and narratives will impact others who view/read them?

When people view my photos, I hope that they feel a sense of peace. I hope that my photos can serve as a reminder of what we are all striving for: A world free from gun violence. I hope that my photos inspire others to take their own photos to share with the world.

What are your aspirations for the future, personally and within your community, about the themes explored in this project?

Personally, I hope to create a community of and for wounded gun violence survivors. In a future free from gun violence, the community I desire to create would allow wounded survivors to heal completely, without the fear of being shot again. 

This project has inspired me to keep doing what I can, not only for myself, but also for the collective cause. I think we can all relate to feeling a bit defeated at times, and this project allowed me to refocus on what I want to do and the change I want to make in the gun violence prevention movement.

“Let in the Sun”

Free, open, and bright. Those are the words that come to mind when I envision a world free from gun violence. We all deserve to live openly and freely in our everyday lives, because when we do, our world becomes even brighter.

About the Photovoice Initiative

Everytown’s first photovoice project, conducted in 2024 for Black History Month, was spearheaded by Rediet Wegayehu (she/her), Associate Director of Evaluation and Learning at Everytown. The photovoice initiative aimed to unite Black youth, introducing them to photovoice as a multifaceted tool combining storytelling and photography for data collection efforts. Through interactive sessions and collaborative brainstorming sessions, Rediet guided the participants in envisioning a future without gun violence. This year’s project drew inspiration from Afrofuturism, a transformative lens fostering transcending imagination and the exploration of endless possibilities.

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