Cedar Rapids photographer honoring community members each day during Black History Month

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 6:32 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - In this Black History Month, a Cedar Rapids photographer is highlighting people in the community each day this month.

Shanell Kurtz turned her photography hobby into a part-time job and is now using her lens to bring Black contributions into focus. Each image captures a story and tells one.

”I wanted to do something positive in the community. So, I used Black History Month as a way to showcase people in our community and educate the community about Black-owned businesses and people making a difference in our community,” Kurtz said.

From yoga instructor Jasmine Dennis to music artist and videographer Robert Miley Junior, Kurtz photographs entrepreneurs and creatives such as these and then features them on Facebook.

”I think it’s great to highlight people to show what they do in the community. And show our community and educate them on what they have available,” Kurtz said.

Dan Pledge-Johnson is the president and executive director of Children of Promise. His program serves children who have or have had a parent in prison. Pledge-Johnson was featured on day six of the project.

”When you look at partnering in a small but yet big city like Cedar Rapids it’s an opportunity for us to come together and showcase each other,” Pledge-Johnson said.

While each day displays a different person, they all share a desire to improve the Cedar Rapids region - whether through business, art, or ensuring every child knows their worth.

”I think it’s a great thing. To be able to get the word out, but also I asked her this morning to be a mentor. So, I think at the end of the day, we both got a win,” Pledge-Johnson said.

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