For the last few weeks, our crew of Art & Justice Community Organizers have been working on the art project element of their work. Today we want to highlight some of the work happening at the Industries Printshop!
AS220 Youth’s Art and Justice Community Organizers (AJCO) is a paid workforce development program. This spring has been the pilot cohort, with ten youth participants. Youth have been working on work readiness and 21st century skills through learning to become an organizer in their community. As part of the program, participants chose a community issue that they are passionate about, explore that issue and organize a public facing community based artistic project aimed to create dialogue and engagement with the topic at hand. Participants are also gaining college credit through this program, in partnership with College Unbound!
This cohort has chosen a shared topic to explore: police brutality. RITS Site Manager Jason Colon, who has been the lead for this program, has this about the college class:
Youth have been exposed to numerous acts of racial justice initiatives, we have been able to focus on the repeal of LEOBoR, and how our youth and community want the proper and necessary improvements in law enforcement. We have explored how repeals and different forms of acts of justice look and feel with members of our community that are currently involved in the work, our AJCO program is following along in those footsteps in hopes to also get their messages across.
One participant, Zai, whose work in progress shirt is pictured below, has been working on a shirt and flyer design.
Zai says, ” I got the picture from a news article that happened in Boston.” After researching the story, he felt the image represented the way he feels fed up with police brutality. He is looking into text to add to the shirt, considering the Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
Youth will be presenting their work at the Nowell-AS220 Youth Block Party on June 18th. they have named their presentation “The Movement.”
We are grateful for the funding for this workforce development program from the City of Providence Office of Economic Opportunity.