Organizations in Juneau and across Alaska have been initiating discussions on equity issues, but have not had the local resources available for engaging in deep learning and institutional reflection necessary to promote widespread change. We believe art can be a powerful tool for social justice, as both a catalyst and a vehicle for conversation. We believe art can be used as a method for facilitating dialogue, especially across cultural groups. Developing an innovative arts-based racial equity curriculum means that we can build on best practices in racial justice education and facilitation methods, while infusing our own creative methods that we’ve found successful in engaging classroom communities of all learners.
In the summer of 2016, Melissa Garcia Johnson (Mexican American) and Ms. Christy Eriksen (Asian American) provided a free, open to the public arts-based equity event which resulted in a partnership with the University of Alaska Southeast, approximately 100 participants, and a yearning for more learning opportunities. However, the time required to prepare continued learning and organize institutional partnerships has been prohibitive to expanding the project. Funding would financially support Ms. Garcia Johnson and Ms. Eriksen to create the curriculum, resource guide, and outreach plan necessary to offer training at a level that local and statewide partners have capacity to commit to.