Supporting Teaching Artists (and Their Students) in the Current Climate—You Can Help
Regardless of your politics, it is clear that this election marks the end of a particularly divisive time and a heightened climate for the people that Bartol grantees serve. Immigrants who fear deportation or detention, people of color, Muslims, women and girls, and those who live in communities that are already traumatized and marginalized, all have new reason to be concerned for their futures.
After hearing from our grantees who are trying to navigate this new reality, we invited our grantees (above) to join us to share what they are experiencing in their classrooms and see how we can all support each other going forward. While the teaching artists and staff who came together have not seen particular acts that threaten the safety of their students, they all feel that there is a pervasive climate of fear, especially for those community members who are immigrants (undocumented and otherwise) who fear that family members may be deported or detained. Many feel that this climate has brought into the open feelings of racism that have long been under the surface.
We all agreed that it is the job of teaching artists and the organizations that support them to be vigilant in maintaining a safe space for all respectful and compassionate dialogue. There was also agreement that making art provides a space in which to process feelings and also take action in whatever way each organization feels aligns with their mission.
As we all process our feelings about what might happen in the next four years, some want to talk about it. Some don’t. The group felt it was important to be mindful of how we influence those we interact with and the risks/benefits of self-disclosure. Our first responsibility is to have our participants feel as though we are a consistent, reliable, trusted teacher to them.
Many of our colleagues offered specific resources to share with each other. Others expressed a recognition that we need to build ties within our communities and also seek opportunities for strength across communities through collaborations and networking.
What You Can Do
In response to the conversation, we decided to create a system for sharing existing resources, which Bartol will post on a shared Google drive. Resources could include:
- Trauma-informed practices for the classroom
- Curriculum to engage students in discussion; writing prompts; activities
- Community resources that focus on immigrant rights; reporting hate crimes; addressing incidents of discrimination and racism.
If you have resources to share or would like access to the shared resources, email us here. You can also:
- Send ideas for workshops or resources that you would like us to offer this winter or spring and we will do our best to respond as our own resources allow.
- Reach out directly to your colleagues (and copy us if you would) when you see opportunities to collaborate across communities.
- Let us know in the future if you want to meet again to discuss specific topics or in a less structured setting with an open agenda.