Campaign Asks What Would Have Happened if the Insurrectionists Were Black

By Kyle O'Brien 

On the one-year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a group of insurrectionists, the Courageous Conversation Global Foundation (CCGF) is tackling the question that many asked in the aftermath: What if they were Black?

Goodby Silverstein & Partners worked with the CCGF on a new campaign, “What if they were Black?” that spotlights the bias of the coverage, reactions and repercussions of the January 6 riot through a limited collection of air-brush style memorial shirts designed and produced in partnership with artists Timothy Bluitt Jr. and Casandra Burrell.


The memorial shirts are designed to bring awareness to the vast difference in ramifications between what actually happened to those who stormed the Capitol—and the speculation on the ramifications if the insurrectionists had been Black by visually reimagining the insurrectionists as Black people.

The backs of the shirts show racial bias through statistics from the justice system. Those stats show Black men are three times more likely to be killed by police, one-third of unarmed people killed by police are Black and Black people are also five times more likely to be imprisoned.

The shirts debuted through a catalog-style Instagram campaign that shows people wearing them around the Capitol and throughout Washington D.C. The social content will also reveal racial bias in the U.S. justice system. From there, people can click through to purchase the shirts through an online store, with a portion of proceeds going to CCGF to help achieve racial equity and social justice.

A TikTok series titled #IfTheyWereBlackChallenge finds creators detailing what would have happened if Black people had stormed the Capitol, hijacking the popularized heaven background green screen feature in order to continue the conversation with a younger audience. Additional social content includes a live Twitter Spaces conversation and Instagram AMA to spark conversation.

“Not only does everyone remember what happened that day, they remembered how they felt about it all,” said Rony Castor, GS&P creative director. “But since January 6, people have talked less and less about a white privilege we witnessed. We want to make sure people don’t forget about that fact.”

“This reality is historically ever-present … there are two distinct Americas. The Capitol insurrection made our racial dichotomy clearer to the less conscious citizens of this country—and has encouraged more of us to seriously consider having a conversation that disassembles the racial bias that has always existed,” said Glenn Singleton, founder of CCGF.


Client: Courageous Conversation Global Foundation

Board Chair, Courageous Conversation Global Foundation (CCGF): Glenn E. Singleton

Executive Director, Courageous Conversation Global Foundation (CCGF): Andrea Johnson

Program Director, Courageous Conversation Global Foundation (CCGF): Madame Athena Chang

Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners


Chief Creative Officer: Margaret Johnson

Creative Director: Anthony O’Neill & Rony Castor

Associate Creative Director: Wes Dorsainvil

Art Director: Shantice Edwards

Copywriter: Alex Petosa

Account Services

President: Derek Robson

Account Director: Tom Powers

Account Manager: Rachel Diaz

Public Relations

Director of Communications: Meredith Vellines 

Brand and Communication Strategy

Partner, Head of Brand Strategy: Bonnie Wan

Partner, Head of Communication Strategy: Christine Chen

Brand Strategist: Darien Ahn

Senior Communications Strategist: Drew Forrest

Senior Research Strategist: Nancy Parrott

Junior Research Strategist: Whitney Thomas

Junior Brand Strategist: Ezana Ataklti

T-Shirt Artists

Tim Bluitt

Casandra Burrell, @TheAirbrushGoddess 


Co-Director of Production: Leila Gage

Senior Print Producer/Art Buyer: Noah Dasho

Producer: Jack Sloman 

Content Creative Coordinator: Hanna Hegnell

Post Production

Editorial and AudioElevel

Director of Elevel Post Production: Michael Damiani 

Senior Editor: David Sullivan 

Photographer: Emilio Diaz

Printing Production

Stacey Steele, LogoLab

Business Affairs

Director of Business Affairs: Judy Ybarra