By Tony Garcia
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Jazmin Anderson knew she wanted to make a difference, but didn’t know where to begin.
That is, until she remembered seeing another artist who created a coloring book about places around town.
“I just wanted to be able to put something out there for my community to enjoy during black history month,” Anderson said. “But I just thought that (coloring book) was super cool.”
So, she decided to adopt the idea and make it her own.
“There are 20 plus pages of Black leaders and legends in the Lansing area,” Anderson said. “Some who have passed, some who are still with us that just have made an impact on our community.”
Jazmin says she knew of some of the people who made it in her book — like Malcolm X, Magic Johnson, Judy Kehler and Joel Ferguson — but had to do some research about others.
So she dug around to find out about people like Stuart Dunnings Jr., Lansing’s first Black lawyer and Clifton Wharton Jr. — the first Black President of a Major U.S. University. Then, she started drawing for more than a week.
“I probably spent maybe one to three hours on it every night until I was like, ‘I think I’m done now’,” Anderson said.
Her goal when she started the project was to give the kids who spend time at Lansing Parks & Rec Centers — like Letts Community Center, where she is a member of the board — something to do for Black History Month. But as her project unfolded, the return she got was even greater.
“To see other kids using it is really cool, or a teacher who says they’re going to bring it to their class,” Anderson said. “For me, I think we talk so much about the people who have impacted us nationally like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks…those people have done amazing things …but to focus just on the people so close to home I think really grounds us and brings us back to like ‘I really could be the first’ or ‘I could really have an impact on our community’.”
All of the illustrations are free to download, right here.