This Instagram filter puts Congressman John Lewis and BLM co-founder where Confederate statues once stood

The augmented reality project for Black History Month comes from Color Of Change and BBDO New York

Published On
Feb 01, 2021

Editor's Pick

Slowly, Confederate monuments across the country are coming down, whether through political decree or ropes and strong arms. Often, the pedestals upon which the statues stood remain in place, but empty—enduring symbols of a stain on history.

To celebrate the beginning of Black History Month, racial justice organization Color Of Change has created a way to fill those empty plinths with the images of people who actually deserve to be recognized. “The Pedestal Project” uses augmented reality to put statues of civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and Freedom March NYC co-founder Chelsea Miller into the lives of Instagram users.

Made by BBDO New York, the filter is accessible through the Color of Change Instagram account. It projects a 3D CGI image of each activist, rendered from 2D sketches drawn by Black sculpture artist Spencer Evans, who imagined how each might look if cast in bronze for their own monument—Lewis gestures toward the future, Garza unfurls a BLM banner, and Garza clutches a bullhorn.


“In their time, white nationalist officials erected statues of Confederate leaders for a reason—to send a message about who should dominate this country, and to put Black people in our place,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, in a statement. “In our time, Confederate statues continue to encourage white nationalists who are hell bent on resisting progress. It’s not enough to remove them; we must replace them with symbols of a just vision of America. But most importantly, every statue we change must go hand in hand with a statute we change. We cannot allow symbols like monuments to be a consolation prize—they must accompany real efforts to change laws and outcomes for real people, which is why we’re focusing on three of the many heroes fighting for concrete, anti-racist policy changes that will transform our country for the better.”

While the filter works anywhere, enterprising users can search for empty pedestals that used to support Confederate monuments at and use the app in those locations. Currently, all are located on the East Coast, mostly in the Northeast. The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies more than 1,700 Confederate monuments still standing across the country.

"Symbols and their substance matter,” said Garza in a statement. “They are a representation of that which we vow to never forget—they are regular reminders of what we value, who we strive to be, as individuals, as communities, as a nation, as a people. There are symbols of racial terror all over our country—Confederate monuments, crosses burning on lawns of civil rights workers, statues to killers and war criminals. But what if there were monuments to our ongoing struggle for racial justice, for dignity, for democracy—not confined inside of memorials and museums, but everywhere that people gather?”

Users can also sign a petition calling for the removal of all Confederate monuments.

“The Civil Rights Movement never ended; it has just taken new forms,” said Miller in a statement. “It is on every generation to build on the work of those who came before us and unapologetically stand on the shoulders of our ancestors.”


Feb 02, 2021
Client :
Color of Change
Agency :
BBDO-New York
Chief Creative Officer Worldwide :
David Lubars
Executive Creative Director :
Daniela Vojta
Executive Creative Director :
Susan Young
Associate Creative Director :
Anshumani Khanna
Associate Creative Director :
Jess Andrews
Executive Producer Content :
Jessica Coccaro
Producer Content :
Star Wingate-Bey
Senior Music Producer :
Julia Millison
Music Production Intern :
Katie Theobalds
Executive Producer Digital :
James Young
Producer Digital :
Philip Peker
Art Producer :
Ilona Siller
Art Producer :
Lizzy Lehn
Designer :
Melanie Coyne
Animator :
Antoine Jones
Managing Director :
Steven Panariello
SVP Senior Director :
Lindsey Cash
Account Manager :
Dani Gredoña
Account Manager :
Alexandra Castellanos
VP Strategy Director :
Jen Leung
VP Communications Director :
Kate Kelley
Communications Manager :
Kaley Turner
SVP Production Services Director :
Jessica Nugent
Business Manager :
Grace Kelly
Production Company :
Color of Change
President :
Rashad Robinson
Sr. Director of Communications :
Amity Paye
Senior Communications Manager :
Jocelyn Walker
Social Media & Content Manager :
Nia Porter
Social Media & Content Manager :
Ryan Mattimore
Social Media & Content Coordinator :
Jiya Pinder
Special Projects and Partnerships Manager :
Alexsys Grishaber
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer :
Elizabeth Harrison
SVP Brand Engagement :
Veronica Rodriguez
VP Corporate Communications :
Max Buccini
Director of Lifestyle :
Lauren Monroe
Director of Media Relations :
Anina Bose
Director of Brand Engagement Talent :
Luis Braga
Account Supervisor Influencer Relations :
Heidi Smolevitz
Statue Sculpture Artist :
Spencer Evans
Production Company 3D Statues :
Happy Finish
President / COO :
Toby Roberts
VP of U.S. Business Development :
Joshua Parish
Producer :
Nicole Fitzhugh
CG Supervisor :
Matt Painter
CG Artist :
Benjamin Allen
CG Artist :
Flavio Novi
CG Artist :
Sam Windom
Production Company :
BBDO Studios
Line Producer :
Jon Shu
DP :
Morgan Ammons
Add’l Footage :
The Syndicate
EP :
Lindsey McLemore
EP :
Julia Galvin
Shooter :
Veronica Proudford
Shooter :
Eleanor Murray-Mendelson
Editor :
Alex Lubars
Studio Director :
Andre Rowe Jr.
Senior Producer :
Allie Kolb
Stock Footage :
UGC Curation :
Editorial Company :
Rock Paper Scissors
Editor :
Aaron Tompkins
Assistant Editor :
Noah Benezra
Executive Producer :
Eve Kornblum
Producer :
Jenny Greenfield
Telecine Company :
Senior Colorist :
James Tillett
Executive Producer :
Chris Connolly
Producer :
Kay Carpenter
Conform / Finish Company :
Creative Director/Flame Lead :
Tom McCullough
Flame Assist :
Marcus Wood
After Effects Artist :
David Manzo
Executive Producer :
Camila De Biaggi
Senior Producer :
Anna Kravtsov
Music :
Pulse Music
Composer :
Charles Humenry
Executive Producer :
Dan Kuby
Chief Engineer :
Cory Bauman
Casting Director :
Janet Eisenberg

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