This has been a very intense and magical week in my professional life (and it's not over yet).
Tuesday, I spent the day at an asset-based community-building training with a group of teens from work who will be involved in a year-long art-social justice program. We were one of five groups of teens and staff from other organizations, totaling to about 75 people in the room.
Here are some of the things we did as a large community that day:
1. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, without touching anyone else.
2. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, touching at least 6 knees.
3. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, touching at least 6 bellies.
4. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, touching at least 6 noses.
5. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, hugging at least 6 others.
6. Circle danced to Michael Jackson's "Will You Be There?"
7. Learned two choreographed, circle dances, one based in Celtic tradition and one based on switching partners.
8. Played a large game of Musical Chairs.
9. Played a large game of Musical Chairs, in which chairs are taken out but not people and in which everyone still needs to end up seated.
Wednesday through Friday, those same teens and I went to an Undoing Racism training.
Here are some of the things we did:
1. Solved a puzzle
2. Drew an illustration of a "poor neighborhood."
3. Identified systems of oppression
4. Identified internalized racial oppression
5. Defined racism
6. Explored examples of racism in our organization
7. Brainstormed next steps to undo racism in our organization
This weekend, I have been attending the Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute through the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
So yesterday, I went straight from undoing racism with 13 teens to sitting in a concert hall surrounded by old white people.
Yo-Yo Ma is the founder of the Silk Road Project and Ensemble, which resides at the Arts in Education program at Harvard. The Silk Road Ensemble is a large group of musicians from around the world who create and collaborate around new work and take their improvisation and curriculum to schools around the world, as a means of exploring learning through and in the arts.
Here are some of things I've done in the last day and a half, as part of this program:
1. Cried twice at the Silk Road Ensemble performance
2. Watched a parody of Lady Gaga's song "Born This Way," created by 2nd graders called "Snakes were Born This Way"
3. Created a story using sound, voice, and language, including Mandarin, about getting caught in a rainstorm
4. Been part of a human table that street acrobats flipped over in Harvard Square
5. Played bumper cars with a desk on wheels with Yo-Yo Ma (we're pretty much besties)
6. Been told I look familiar by more than one person (and that I look Latina by one)
I am about to curl up in my bed and get ready for the half day more of training that happens tomorrow.
Yo-Yo already told me he won't be there.
That's right, I called him Yo-Yo.
Since when is this my life?!
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