RESPECT Partners with the ADL-CRC to Present PEW (Promoting Empowerment in our World)
This month, RESPECT partnered with the ADL-CRC to present our second annual Promoting Empowerment in Our World (PEW) for middle school students. The goal of the day is to break down biases and open up a dialogue about prejudice and creating inclusive environments. We were pleased that students came out from schools throughout the Omaha area to participate in activities throughout the day that fostered honest and open discussions. During one of the sessions, we asked students to anonymously share scenarios that they would like to be addressed. There were a wide range of issues brought up and we were able to use some of those submissions in a role-play workshop during the day. Just some of the topics that were brought up are:
- I got a bad grade on a test and people said: How did you get a bad grade? Aren’t brown people supposed to be smart?
- People say I’m good at sports because I’m black
- You can hardly trust anyone
- People said I was gay when I didn’t want to come out yet.
- People used to say that I was weird because I broke up with the popular boy in school
- You get classified as a nerd for being smart
- Recently there have been many rumors at my school about who likes who. It has been very damaging to friendships and other types of relationships in my school
- People assumed I was a terrorist just because I’m a Muslim.
- There has been some accusing about if someone is a racist. (Teachers and students.)
RESPECT effects change through community collaboration. This event is a great example of how that works – by pairing with the ADL-CRC we were able to use our expertise in using theatre to stage conversations with their expertise about bias and prejudice to create a meaningful experience for all who participated. If there are any organizations that you think we should be partnering with on projects like these, let us know.