Local moms band together to create a new social healing photo project called ONLY LOVE. We wanted to learn more about their mission and how we as a community can get involved.
Facebook and Instagram: @onlylovephotoproject
What is Only Love?
Tina Cardoso: Only Love is a photo project to inspire a way forward, heal racial divides and show the world what is possible when we learn to see with our hearts. This collection of photographs is curated through a collaborative journey with the subjects, based on their reflections and hopes for our community.
What inspired the name of the project?
Julie Tingley: “Only Love” comes from a quote in a sermon delivered in 1957 by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” While it may seem that we reference Dr. King solely for his pursuit to raise public consciousness of racism and divide, his significance is actually very personal for me. Everything he stood for—in life and death—was the single lesson in school this past year that I found my 6-year-old completely focused on and was inspired by. I discovered her love of history, advocacy and non-fiction when I watched her learn about this great civil leader. And I believe my daughter is the way forward as she represents all that love truly is.
Who can take part in the project and what is involved?
Jomil Bell: Anyone who wants to dig deeper, love harder and courageously fight for justice and equality is invited to be part of this project. Only Love is a grassroots field journalist project designed to capture the visual stories of what racial healing might look like when love is reflected in our families, conversations, policies and collective systems.
The Only Love Photo Project is a collection of photographs that show different ideas, aspirations and stories of love. So, members will seek to have conversations with volunteers to understand meaningful moments they’ve had with love and how race has influenced their experience. The photographer, Tina Cardoso, will donate a 15-minute photoshoot where she collaborates with the participant to capture their creative expression. The photos will be shared with them as a gift and also added to the total compilation of photos.
With this project, we hope to demonstrate that love is an action word. Love is not a passive sentiment, but one that requires us to engage in hard conversations and unprecedented movement toward a more unified and equal society that celebrates and protects black life. These photos will be a visual expression of what can be possible when a community comes together in solidarity and connectedness. Dr. King said, “All life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Only Love knows that when all lives can say collectively, with courage and confidence, that black lives do indeed matter, that we will be that much closer to the type of world we want our children to inherit.
Everyone has a role to play as we work together as a community to end racism and social injustice. What is your role in this?
Geneva Maresma: We each have a part to play in making a brighter tomorrow a reality. I see it this way- we’re all in the same fight together, but each of us must fight with the weapons of our giftings. I believe when we do what we do well towards the common good, we respectfully give space for everyone to play their roles and serve most impactfully. For me, my words are my sword against racism and my circles of influence within the community are my battleground. As a writer and a visionary, I must use my words to help people see what can become when we face what is. I want to encourage others that society possesses the power to make social injustice a transient period of our history. It’s my role in the fight against racism, through the power of words, to keep people pressing towards the light even when some days are dark.
What have you learned over the last month and how has it changed you?
Bria Sullivan: I’ve learned a lot, but there are three specific lessons that I’ve learned that will have lasting change in my life. First, I’ve learned that my voice has power and impact. Moving forward, I intend to use my voice to educate, uplift, encourage, empower and support others. Next, I’ve learned the impact of unity and how a diverse group of people can come together to collectively influence the change we want to see. And finally, I’ve learned the necessity of self-care. Especially in times like these, it can feel as if we’ve got the weight of the world on our shoulders. I’m learning that it’s important to consistently take time to do things that truly nourish my soul and bring me joy.
About the moms:
Bria Sullivan A native Floridian who has lived in almost every quadrant of the United States, Bria Sullivan feels blessed to experience firsthand how diverse and yet how similar people are across the country. She is an experienced human resources professional with a background in coaching who believes her gift is to help people to be who God designed them to be. Her hope for the future is that everyone operates in love and from love – self-love, love for each other and love for our world.
Geneva Maresma is a small business strategist and copywriter who lives in and loves the Tampa Bay community. She helps everyday women achieve their extraordinary dreams through creating intelligent, creative, yet simple messaging and business strategies. While her heart is broken for citizens who haven’t felt like whole citizens or that they could even dream, her hope is that everyone everywhere lives the dream of a brighter tomorrow. “To get where we need to be, we must make strides towards equality today.”
Jomil Bell is the “creatress” of Hive Over Matter LLC. and a certified life and relationship coach for women who over-give to others but underserve themselves. She uses coaching to help women transform their relationships with self, love, money, career and spirituality. Bell hopes that the Only Love project will capture conversations that ignite change, both in paradigm and policy, that dismantle systemic racism and make it abundantly clear that black lives matter, are protected and are celebrated.
Julie Tingley is a community leader, women-empowerment advocate, girl mom and devout animal lover. After 15 successful years in the medical sales industry, Tingley decided to stay home and focus on being a mom to her two little girls. As a Girl Scout leader, dance mom and volunteer for multiple non-profit committees and organizations, Tingley also contributes monthly to Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine, where she highlights local mothers and the inspiring things they do through their businesses in the community.
Tina Cardoso – Howie Mac Photo
As a branding and family photographer for the Tampa Bay area, Tina built Howie Mac Photo to focus on the heart, the art and the community. Capturing the perfect moment, not just the perfect pose, Cardoso helps entrepreneurs share the heart of their brand, as well as families documenting their story, with a little fun and a lot of love.