Tag Archives: social activism

Building understanding one book at a time

24 Oct

Back in 2009, oral historian Anne Marie Pois interviewed three of the founders of Reading to End Racism (RER), a non-profit group in Boulder County that sends trained readers into the schools to read specially chosen books to students that stimulate conversations about discrimination and overcoming it. 

This week we release “Reading to End Racism: Building understanding one book at a time,” an “MROHP Short” produced by Jenna Woods, that distills that interview into an engaging and inspiring introduction to the program.

This video features founders Ghada Elturk, Jean Gore, and Daniel Escalante talking about efforts to make Boulder “a racism-free zone,” experiences in their own lives that sensitized them to issues of racism, what it means to become an ally of those who experience discrimination, and how RER creates change through its effect on both readers and students.

As Daniel Escalante says,

It’s through stories that we can begin to learn about each other, understand each other, begin to have compassion for each other. It’s hard to discriminate against somebody that you care about.

Watch “Reading to End Racism: Building understanding one book at a time” here or on YouTube.

A Dinner Party Makes History

23 Jun

Artist Judy Chicago stands in front of her now-famous art installation "The Dinner Party"

THIRTY-FOUR YEARS AGO, in 1976, artist Judy Chicago invited the world to a dinner party that already had more than a thousand guests. “The Dinner Party” is “an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art…. [It] comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates … rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table.” (This description is taken from the web site of the Brooklyn Museum, which now permanently displays the art installation as the centerpiece of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Anne Marie Pois, an oral historian with the Boulder Library’s Maria Rogers Oral History Program, was involved in the creation of “The Dinner Party.” She has made a short video,  “Right Into History: The Dinner Party as Catalyst for Social Activism,” which you can watch here, in which she tells the story both of the collaborative process of creating this now-famous piece of art and the ways in which it contributed to her becoming a history professor (she taught in the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Colorado for sixteen years) and a life-long social activist. Continue reading

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