LU Senior wins national billboard contest for violence prevention

What they see is what they’ll be. That is the slogan and life motto for members of the 100 Black Men of America. It also is the motto that catapulted LU senior graphic design major DeShaun Bell into first place for the national Stop the Violence billboard and social media design contest hosted by the organization last fall.
The 100 Black Men of America is a civic organization, whose goal is supporting the development of social, emotional and educational needs of youth who need positive role models in the community. In 1993, the 100 Black Men of Charlotte implemented a Stop the Violence campaign to help quell the surge in violence in the city. Now, nearly 30 years later, the organization has restored the reimagined campaign to nationally mitigate violent outcomes which disproportionately impact African American males under the age of 25.
The contest searched for the top three middle school, high school, college and chapter participants to create the best billboard design and marketing campaign for violence prevention. deshaun-bell-billboard

Bell’s winning submission “Put the guns down. What they see is what they’ll be” focused on violence prevention and, more specifically, gun violence  –– a topic that she says is timely and hits home.
“’What they see is what they’ll be.’ That slogan has always stuck with me because as Collegiate 100 members, we serve as mentors for high school students that are getting ready to enter into college,” she said. “I added put the guns down because while gun violence is a very touchy subject, I actually lost a friend last year –– he was murdered as a result of gun violence.”
As first-place winner, Bell will receive $1,500 and her “Put the guns down. What they see is what they’ll be” campaign design will be featured on billboards across the nation by the end of 2022.
“At first I was scared to do the contest because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to put on the billboard,” she said. “My design is big and it’s bright. I know that’s it’s a quick drive by, but I’m hoping that people can take in the message and that they understand the importance of violence prevention.”