(work in progress)
I learned lots of things working with our social justice art campers this past week. The most important tidbit of knowledge for me was just how passionate young people are about issues of equality, mental health, gun violence, animal rights violations, etc.. I was deeply moved and inspired by the genuine humanity that they demonstrated in their artworks over the course of the 5 days. Their heartfelt concern for others, especially those of more vulnerable populations, was pretty incredible.
It made me reflect on these notions of hate and difference that are so strongly dividing (and killing) so many people in America today. Seeing these kids be so open, loving and friendly made me think – so when exactly do we stop loving all people and start to hate?
I suppose that the more that we are hurt, and or, are taught by society how we should think, feel and interact with certain types of people based on race, gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic background, & the list goes on, then the more we begin to believe (and “know”) that certain types of people deserve better treatment than others.
Working closely with the campers, however, listening to them talk about their art and share their viewpoints, gave me hope for the future. It proved to me that there are people – very young people – beginning to see things differently. It showed me that we, as a society, can change how we perceive difference. It was powerful to see that they are still spaces for love and empathy today, and in schools of all places.
Go talk to kids. Listen to what they have to say. They are the ones with the good ideas. They are the ones we (adults) should all be listening to. Even though statistics show that their lives may be at stake each and every day that they go to class, they seem to the ones brave enough to really talk about change.
*Also, on a much lighter note, I learned just how much people love cheese puffs.