Professor Neal Lester, Ph.D. from Arizona State University is ONE OF THE REAL GOOD GUYS on this planet! We met him a few years ago when we provided his Mission with a grant on his course about Cultural Appropriation.
Cultural Appropriation: Critical Dialogues on Cultural Awareness
The Cultural Appropriation symposium for Arizona high school students brought together juniors and seniors who were engaged and thoughtful. Along with the students, adult chaperones, community members, and teachers were in attendance. The day-long event consisted of conversation, film screenings, and deep thinking about crucial and current cultural issues facing society. Throughout the day, students connected both with each other and with older mentors to discuss cultural exploitation, dominance, and students’ own personal experiences with cultural appropriation. Perhaps one of the most meaningful portions of the symposium were the small group facilitated discussions between high school students and community and college facilitators. Some facilitators were Arizona State University undergraduate students involved in social justice communities. Others were informed local community activists. Following each of the two documentaries—one on white rappers and American blackface, and another on indigenous mascots in popular culture—students and facilitators engaged in guided critical conversation that identified problems with cultural appropriation and solutions that challenge systems of privilege. In these discussions, students analyzed content covered in each documentary while also sharing their personal experiences of social injustice in a safe space. Our small group breakouts allowed students to ask questions that normally would not be presented to them, allowing them to evaluate social injustice more personally. Of the 107 attendees, 41 gave feedback with 39 responding that after attending the symposium, they either had “an extremely better” or “much better” understanding of manifestations of systems of privilege and manifestations of unconscious bias and ways to combat them. Arizona State University ad PFW funded this event which deepened students’ understanding of culture more broadly. PFW thanks Professor Neal Lester for his very fine work and preparation of this educational project that embraced our Mission.
Project Humanities website: https://humanities.asu.edu/ca-symposium2015
A PFW F/U grant was awarded when Professor Lester was able to bring Bobby Taylor, acclaimed record producer to work with his students to produce a theme song,”The Movement” which emphasized respect, integrity, empathy, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, and self- reflection.
Here is a link to Unveiling ‘Humanity’ — a musical plea for tolerance, peace, empathy and creativity: https://asunow.asu.edu/20170405-creativity-unveiling-humanity-—-musical-plea-tolerance-peace-empathy-and-creativity
Thank you so much! We are very excited about this effort to promote and sustain the Humanity 101 Movement.