JR has taken on social causes throughout his career. With a goal of bringing people together and understanding that the human race is one family, JR has created works of art around the world.
This week, his latest work, a giant picnic,has sparked much interest and discussion.For more on the project,
To learn more about other inspirational projects by JR, check out his TedTalk.
Thanks to grants from the PTSA and the school, Clarkstown North has been fortunate enough to be able to send 15 staff members to the Undoing Racism Workshop this year.
The support for attending this workshop is clear evidence of the commitment on the part of the school to ensure that we all remain aware of the infinite ways in which oppression is embedded into our daily interactions and institutions. It is only through this continued effort that we can begin to address systematic racism and the inequities that it manifests.
I consider myself to be open-minded and empathetic, but this workshop challenged me in unexpected ways. It allowed me to truly consider the perspective of individuals from all races. It also taught me a lot about the history of our country and the systems that have been put into place that have added to the oppression of minorities in our society. As a teacher, I feel more confident in discussing issues surrounding race in the classroom.
-Ms. Dunn, Art Teacher
It allowed me to reflect on my power as a teacher and the importance of each student that walks into my room. As educators we are told we can change the life of one child and that is enough. This conference helps us realize the magnitude of education and one life is not enough. We should strive for more.
– Mrs. Macias, Social Studies Teacher
What struck me about the Undoing Racism workshop was its message of unity. It argued that the construct of “whiteness,” NOT the people who identify as white, is what stops us from knowing ourselves to be one big human family. It identified the cost of “whiteness” in such a way that I became motivated to dismantle the institutions that have kept racism in place over many years. I feel newly empowered by the realization that I am a gate-keeper, and that institutions cannot oppress anyone if gate-keepers own their power to change those institutions.
-Mrs. Phalen, English Teacher
Hearing the profound disturbing experiences from people of color during the conference made racism “real” for me and touched my heart whereas before it was easy to intellectualize racism-now I can “feel” the knowing of this tragedy and have been transformed into a conscious rejector of racism.
-Cathy Smith, Math Teacher
The personal stories were very moving and some were heart-breaking.
-Keri Nitto, School Guidance Counselor
‘We must recognize our role in perpetuating white privilege in order to undo racism. This workshop was full of information & exercises presented honestly & sensitively in order to bring this concept home. I’m sold & will utilize what I’ve learned to continue to bring this idea to the fore in my daily work.’
Sue Gold, Student Assistance Counselor
This comprehensive workshop was truly an awakening to the infinite micro-aggressions that people of color live on a daily basis. It has increased my awareness and sensitivity to not only people of color, but all minority groups. I have also truly benefited from being a part of a cohort that has been trained and now has a common experience and vocabulary as our foundation as we continue to strive for an environment that provides equity for all. Additionally, I am now a part of a larger network of community members that are working towards a common goal.
-Nancy Diamond, Art Department Chairperson
Last week, 60 minutes reported on Sesame Streets newest muppet, Julia.
“Sesame Street” has always based its characters and content on extensive research. They regularly bring in educators and child psychologists. In the case of Julia, they also worked with autism organizations to decide which characteristics she should have and how best to normalize autism for all children.
It’s tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism. There is an expression that goes, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” says writer Christine Ferraro.
And of course every Muppet needs a puppeteer. But not every puppeteer has the connection Stacey Gordon does to the role. Gordon is the mother of a son with autism.
Stacey Gordon: Had my son’s friends been exposed to his behaviors through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened. They might not have been worried when he cried. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that’s OK.