The Black Veterans Project (BVP), a veteran-led, multi-organizational startup, today announced the official launch of their IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for a full-length documentary recounting the experiences of current and former Black servicemembers, from the Vietnam War to present-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Co-founded by veterans Kyle Bibby and Richard Brookshire, BVP has a mission to preserve the legacy of the 2.5 million Black veterans living in the United States. Through the creation of a full-length documentary and digital archive of oral histories of Black veterans from all walks of life, BVP hopes to raise awareness of racial justice issues in the military and post-service.
The film will focus on the firsthand accounts of Black servicemembers across the country and from all branches of military service. These stories will be supplemented with data pertaining to racial inequities in the military justice system and access to Veterans Affairs (VA) services, and contextualized within concurrent racial justice movements taking place in each era, including the Civil Rights Movement and the Movement for Black Lives.
The goal of the IndieGoGo campaign is to raise $100,000 to support early production costs for the documentary, which includes traveling to conduct interviews nationwide.
The film will be the first step and a major cornerstone in BVP’s larger historical archiving and advocacy work. All content collected and created during the development of the documentary will be used in the film and/or stored in the Black Veterans Archive, the historical preservation program of the Black Veterans Project.
“Too often, Black veterans’ stories get lost within mainstream narratives of what military service means for our country and communities,” said Kyle Bibby, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Black Veterans Project. “This documentary is our chance to take ownership of our story and pay homage to the countless Black men and women in uniform who have devoted their lives to serving this country.”
“Black veterans are not a monolith—our community includes people of diverse ethnic origins, sexual orientations, gender identities, and religious beliefs,” said Richard Brookshire, Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer of Black Veterans Project. “Broadening the narrative around Black military history requires showing the array of experiences that we bring into, and out of, our service. This film will aim to do just that.”
“I am very pleased that the Black Veterans Project is undertaking the monumental and extended effort to document testimonials of our African-American veterans,” said David N. Dinkins, 106th Mayor of the City of New York. “An initiative like this is vitally important and long overdue.”
“As we work to tell the stories of American veterans, we do not want any stories lost, least of all those of Black veterans. This is an important project that seeks to preserve our collective history now, and into the future,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
“The Black Veterans Project comes at a time of national reckoning, when many are beginning to interrogate the systemic barriers that persist across our society and within our nation’s most hallowed institutions.” said Asha Castleberry, Advisory Board Chair of the Black Veterans Project. “We aim to take hold of this work with fervor while undertaking creative approaches addressing these concerns and raising the public consciousness.”