January 15

Meet The MacArthur Fellow Disrupting Racism In Art – Titus Kaphar – NPR Interview

As we approach Martin Luther King Day, and Black History Month, you may want to explore the works of Titus Kaphar.

Among his approaches, Kaphar takes familiar historical images and remakes them to confront the history of slavery and reveal the history of racism in The United States.

“If we are not honest about our past, then we cannot have a clear direction towards our future,” Kaphar says in an interview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Behind the Myth of Benevolence” depicts a black woman behind a rumpled canvas containing a portrait of Thomas Jefferson.

 

January 7

White Fragility, by Robin Diangelo

At a recent workshop hosted by Volunteer Community Services and the Center for Safety and Change, an important new book was highlighted:

White Fragility, Why it is so hard for White People to talk about Racism, by Robin Diangelo.

Sociologist and antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo illuminates emotionally charged and defensive behavior that occurs when a white person’s perceived anti-racism is challenged.

“Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue.”   ~Beacon Press

Many important tools are provided to self reflect on our inevitable racism caused by being socialized in a society where there is a historical foundation of institutional racism.  Diangelo stresses the distinction between acts of discrimination and prejudice (overt intolerant events) and the societal structure of racism.

In this process, Diangelo implores the reader, particularly those of us that consider ourselves progressive, liberal and anti-racist, to recognize our continued role in racism, and to recognize that interrupting racism is life long work…that we are never “done.”

 

Important concepts that strongly impacted my thinking:

-Our actions: Intent vs Impact

– The Good/Bad Binary  (because racism is amoral, saying a white person is racist is a moral affront.)

-Working to consider ourselves in racial terms…the impact of being white

 

Diangelo encourages the reader to shift their thinking from if you are a racist, to how we engage in racism.

 

This short book (150 pages) is an important read!

 

October 22

Voting Barriers for Native Americans

For years it had been difficult for Indigenous People living on reservations to participate in the election of our government officials.  It is not uncommon for polling places to be a great distance ( as much as a 5 hour journey!) from the reservations.

This election season will be the first in which voters in North Dakota must show an ID with a street address (no PO Boxes accepted.)   This new reality will clearly prevent Native Americans from participating in their most fundamental rights as citizens.

For more information on this story, go to npr.org

October 15

Human Library – breaking stereotypes through honest conversation

The human library concept originated in 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark, as part of a youth organization’s work to combat violence.

More recently, the San Diego Times reported on this idea being put to use in the San Diego Library.

Here’s how the human library worked: people signed up for 20-minute slots of time during which they could “check out” and have a casual conversation with a “human book,” a person with a particular life experience that is generally stereotyped. In addition to Spacek, the other human books on Saturday were “refugee,” “punk entrepreneur,” “rapper,” “disabled,” “journalist,” “dwarfism,” “blind,” “transgender,” “veteran,” “Muslim,” “graffiti artist” and “psychic.”

 

October 8

Happy Indigenous People’s Day

Old habits die hard, but ever so slowly, cities are beginning to acknowledge the true “discoverers” of America, the Native Indians.  Just as southern states continue to work on addressing the pain brought by honoring historical figures that caused so much suffering and racism, so too must all of us address the realities of Christopher Columbus.

We must continue to work on the racism that works at an institutional level.  Whether removing iconic monuments, renaming schools or renaming and refocusing our pride in holidays, we must continue to move forward.

For additional coverage on Indigenous People’s day, click here.

March 1

The Butterfly Project Comes to North

Over this past week the CHSN Art Department has immersed itself in participating with a global Holocaust remembrance project, The Butterfly Project. 

The goal of the Butterfly project is to commemorate the 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust.

We began the week with a viewing of “Paper Clips.”  This documentary tells the story of a Holocaust Memorial Project started in a middle school in Tennessee.  While watching this video, students really gained a sense of the power of their voices and actions.  Given the current climate, this message truly resonated with the students.

Next, with the help of bio cards provided by the Butterfly Project organization, we made personal connections with the children that were killed during the Holocaust.  We also discussed the Righteous of Nations and the risks non-Jews faced in efforts to help the persecuted.

On February 28th, we kicked off the project with a presentation by Holocaust Survivor, Sonia Goldstein.  Over 700 students listened intently as Sonia told her personal experiences in ghettos, Stutthof Concentration Camp, death marches and refugee camps.  Sonia was taken to the concentration camp when she was 16, the age of most of the students in the audience.  Sonia is now 93 years young, and we all valued the importance of hearing these personal accounts so that the stories may live on through us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On March 1st, all art students returned to class, inspired to start creating butterflies.  Today alone we create 860 of our total 1000 butterfly goal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lessons learned this week about the Holocaust, the victims, the survivors and the Righteous of Nations have been unforgettable!

The project has brought our school together in a time where tolerance and diversity are qualities we continue to foster.

February 26

The Butterfly Project Comes to North

Last year, the Art Department piloted a holocaust remembrance project called the Butterfly Project. The basis of this international project is Holocaust education, combined with the creation of ceramic butterflies in remembrance of the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust.  During this pilot, 25 butterflies were made.

This week the CHSN Art Department begins it’s participation in the global Butterfly Project.

On Wednesday, February 28, we will listen to Holocaust Survivor, Sonia Goldstein, tell her experience during the Holocaust.  This speaker will be the preliminary inspiration for those planning to help glaze clay butterflies.    The speaker will be presenting in the auditorium and the Art Department will be bringing approximately 500 students.
The butterflies:
It is our goal to create 1000 clay butterflies that will be permanently installed on the exterior brick wall of the Guidance Department facing picnic tables.
On March 1-2, the Art Department will be creating glaze designs on clay butterflies (we will pre-make butterflies prior to this event). While students are working on these creations, we will have available brief bios  (provided by the butterfly project) of children that died during the Holocaust so that students have another opportunity to connect with the meaning behind the project.
On March 1, afterschool, we will hold a workshop for any students not in art classes, to create a butterfly.
Late April/May project installation and unveiling event coupled with a screening of the documentary, Not the Last Butterfly