Calling all jigsaw puzzle lovers! We know you’re often escape room fans too — but did you realize most jigsaw puzzle imagery doesn’t include people of color?
Sibling pair William Jones and Ericka Chambers often put together puzzles of cartoon characters as children, unable to find anything that represented them, as people of color.
“It’s all about that representation,” Chambers told CBS. “You don’t feel like an ‘other.’ You feel like you are part of the world that you live in.”
So during the jigsaw puzzle boom of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two launched Puzzles of Color, a new company with frameable, works-of-art jigsaw puzzles — created by artists of color.
Prior to the pandemic, there were others spurred into action at the lack of diversity in the toy market — like Matthew and Marnel Goins.
The Goinses launched Puzzle Huddle, with jigsaw puzzles that show Black children in all kinds of situations — career images like scientists, bvible stories and more. They also come in a number of sizes, so are accessible for a wide range of ages.
“The puzzles are a manifestation of a much bigger idea where we want to inspire and affirm children toward education and high achievement. Kids deserve to have toys that match their skin tones and hair textures which can provide them with a sense of confidence and value. We appreciate the opportunity to share positive images with families,” said Marnel.
And another person doing great things in the puzzle space — Amanda Wilson, founder of A+X Puzzle created her brand in 2019. Named for her twins Adric and Xola, A+X Puzzle’s products are reportedly the first from a Black-owned business to be sold in nationwide chain Target.
“I never saw myself as someone who would make history, but I did. I am proud to say that I am the first Black puzzle company in a major retail store. It is an amazing feeling,” she told Because Of Them We Can.
Escape rooms wouldn’t exist without jigsaw puzzles, and we celebrate diversity and inclusion in that space.