February 5

“Catch These Hands” AP Language Project – by Teena Thomas

Inspired by Angelica Dass, creator of Humanae, and in hope to spread togetherness and promote acceptance of diversity at Clarkstown High School North, I took on this photographic human hand mosaic.
The motivation to start such a project originated from Ms. Phalen’s AP Language class during our “Race & Otherness” unit as we explored & presented various texts found on social media, etc. in order to construct our own claims on the issues.

-my claim-

Color is a concept so familiar, simple & pure. We, as humans, believe we KNOW what color is and means. We hold STRONG OPINIONS and preconceived notions about color.
With “color”, there is no difference of which is better than the other; they are simply just colors. But when it comes to “skin color”, there is unfortunately a whole level of labeling, a sense of prejudice of one race/group over another.
But by reframing or redefining the term “color”, we can make the comfortable, uncomfortable.Through the use of defamiliarization, or the “the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar”, we can deconstruct this mentality of superiority. We can take color apart, and reconstruct the wheel with a new perspective, a new thought.

I chose hands because hands hold a second level, deeper meaning, symbolizing unity in itself. “The holding of hands” per say is unifying, accepting. So by using hands as a marker for each individual makes sense.

Along with the hands, I decided to have the caption be a word of identification, not a PANTONE color name. So each person along with a photograph chose a word they felt they identified as, i.e., musician, athlete, cheery, etc.

Artistic Process:
There were several moments I wasn’t quite sure what to do. So much ambition and excitement to tackle a project for a girl who had little to no experience on photoshop and also did not think through the details at the start. I just jumped right in! And it’s funny because I usually don’t do that; I like to plan out meticulously for anything I do to. It was a change in approach but it was well worth it.

During an Art Honors Meeting, with your help, I was able to collect the names of kids who were interested in participating.
With just a stool, a white sheet of paper, and my iPhone camera, I shot 67 hands of students & staff over the course of two days after school.
That weekend I began editing. 7 straight hours in my room without a break I cranked at it on Saturday. Then Sunday morning back at it, I spent the rest of my day editing until I got through 45 hands, all set & ready to go.
My editing consisted of taking a pixel of color from the center of the middle knuckle (as opposed to the center of the nose as Dass had done) and filling the background. I then selected a font, font size, and rectangular box height & width for the font to go on. Attached is a time lapse video of an example, Mr. Covert as “leader”.

 

I want to thank you, Mrs. Diamond for providing support and the resources to get my ideas a reality and Denise, the woman at the main office who out of genuine interest persuaded almost 30 students to stop & be a part of my project. Again thank you! This turned out so much more than I ever imagined. 🙂

 

January 19

Dream Unfinished

Thanks to our band teacher for sharing this great resource! Mr. Andert has been working on integrating diversity into band program. Through his training and work with “The Dream Unfinished,” he is working to present more music from diverse composers in the music classroom.

AN ACTIVIST ORCHESTRA

The Dream Unfinished is an activist orchestra which supports NYC-based civil rights and community organizations through concerts and presentations.

MISSION

To use classical music as a platform to engage audiences with issues related to social and racial justice. Since its founding in 2014, TDU has staged over a dozen performances throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and partnered with organizations such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, Black Women’s Blueprint, Justice League NYC, African American Policy Forum, and others. In 2015, The Dream Unfinished’s inaugural season honored the one year of Eric Garner’s passing. Its 2016 season, entitled Sing Her Name, culminated on the one-year anniversary of Sandra Bland’s passing. Future seasons of The Dream Unfinished will focus on the school to prison pipeline, solitary confinement, and gentrification.

January 19

Name That Color….

Thank you Mrs. Rickli for sharing this resource approaching discussions of skin color using descriptive words (much the way we would describe the color of the sky or grass), as opposed to jus racial constructs.

Article excerpt:

“With very young children we often point out the colors of buses, fire trucks and grass, as we teach them about the world. We’re naming all these things, but we’re not talking about people’s colors. In some ways, it’s really odd that there’s this whole description that we’re not addressing. It teaches kids that race is not okay to talk about. When parents are silent, children make up their own stories as to why.”

For a link to the full article, click here.

Some places where I could imagine quick references in our classes:

We are often “identifying” in our content areas, whether specific names for tubes of acrylic paint, or symbols on a periodic table.  Perhaps when identifying topics come up, and he have discussions of symbolic vs. representational, we can weave the conversation of actual skin color vs. racially defined colors into our conversations.

January 18

From Standing Rock to Ramapough-Lenape Nation

From Standing Rock to Ramapough-Lenape Nation

Please join our conversation

Date: Friday, January 20th

Time: 7:30pm

Where: Threefold Café

285 Hungry Hollow Road, Chestnut Ridge, NY  10977

Speakers:

Scott Dunn (Director of Nature Place Day Camp) The experience with the water protectors at The Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota. He will talk about the different people who chose to gather there, the organization, teaching, actions and prayers that he took part in.

Reverend Janet Weber (Cross-cultural/Interfaith Minister, Indigenous Elders Assistant & Advocate, working with Lakota, Cheyenne & Ramapough-Lenape) “Sacred Activism: Standing Rock to Ramapo–the frontline comes home” Information about the Water Walk for Life and the Ramapo Split Rock camp. Bringing the spiritual together with activism.

Chuck Stead (Doctor of Environmental Studies, Adjunct Professor Ramapo College, Senior Program Assistant Town of Ramapo, Storyteller) “Traditional Knowledge in the 21st Century” – the role that traditional native pathways plays in dealing with a society addicted to commodification.

January 15

Shepard Fairey’s plan to depict Innauguration Day imagery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2008, Shepard Fairey ushered in the presidency of Barrack Obama with his graphic “Hope” posters.

This week, Shepard Fairey will do appeal to the masses again, with a series of images entitled “We the People.”  These images will be made available to the masses through their printing in the Washington Post.

Click here for the PBS story that provides more information on this initiative that was funded through a kickstarter campaign.

January 13

Courageous Conversations 2

I never cease to be amazed by the power of students to connect across all sorts of barriers, if they are just given the time and space.

Today 60 students, from ENL classes, VAASA, Student Council and World of Difference spent the morning together.  In getting to know each other, they discovered not only how much they didn’t know about each other, but also how much they have in common.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continue our journey to open dialogue in respectful and meaningful ways….

November 27

Colleges and universities begin looking at, and making amends for, their ties to racism and slavery

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-1-49-23-pmIn the recent past, a number of schools, including but not limited to, Harvard, Brown, Princeton and the University of North Carolina have begun making reparations for their ties to racism and slavery.

Of most recent note, Georgetown is making reparations for the University debts that were paid off through the sale of slaves, and just last week Rutgers published a report  detailing how some of the university’s most prominent figures participated in the slave trade, and how Rutgers benefited from the displacement of Native Americans from their lands.

May the conversations stay honest and courageous, and the amends authentic and long lasting.

 

http://www.wnyc.org/story/rutgers-university-recognizes-historical-ties-racism-and-slavery-new-report/

http://www.wnyc.org/story/georgetown-university-makes-amends-slavery/