Good people, last week I was given the honor to go to Harrisburg and present the keynote at the PA Education Policy and Leadership Center‘s 7th annual arts education symposium. My first keynote- heyyyyyy (update-that might not be true, but still, heyyyyyy). The topic I was given, arts education and social justice, was nice and roomy, but it also left me struggling with what I wanted to say. At first, I actually wasn’t even sure I had much to say to a primarily European descended group that worked primarily with children of European descent in suburban public schools. My work has been primarily with children of African descent, living in urban areas, and in out of school time spaces. However, it was paid work, requested by a colleague, Ron Cowell, who convinced me I would have something of value to share. So, I accepted. Since this was going to be a predominantly European descended space, I wanted to somehow get race, justice and European descended students at the center.
Through a somewhat circuitous route, (I ended up not speaking on the topic I sent “How whiteness hurts teachers of European descent too”) I came to talk bout how race as European Supremacy is itself is a violation of justice and the role of European arts sponsors in the making of that injustice, both in the past and right up to the present here in PA, including how it shows up the PA Council on the Arts and Pittsburgh Public Schools CAPA. The arts educators and policy makers in attendance gave a really nice response and asked for the slides and so I shared them with Ron. Thinking it good to share beyond that room, in which race played a huge role in who attended, and that this could have value to other arts, education and justice conversations, I am also sharing here the slides with my notes -“Race: A European Corruption of Imagination”. Thanks very much to the EPLC for the invitation. Really appreciated.