A series of classes, titled “Educating for the Resistance”, was offered last quarter in our Master’s of Education Program in direct response to the current US presidential administration and its threats to rights, liberties, and resources throughout the country and around the globe.
Each week a different speaker facilitated a session on an area under attack by the current presidential administration. Speakers provided action-oriented resources and discussed ways to aid in the resistance as citizens and educators. Topics included immigrants and refugees, prison rights and advocacy, organizing frameworks, mental liberation, and schooling in a “law and order” state. Students performed an action or act of resistance each week and posted it on the classroom “Wall of Resistance”. Members of the community were also given the opportunity to post their own actions on the wall.
Art Therapy faculty member, Michael Buchert, recently led the class in discussing the role of art and creativity in speaking truth to power and in maintaining one’s sense of self in times of personal strife and political turmoil. Exercises included making protest signs and listening to protest anthems.
“Educating the Resistance” was well received by students. For example, Katelyn Howell described the experience, saying, “It was such a great experience to analyze the power behind art and protest…Protest art has the ability to explain and emphasize a major issue within society, while only using a few words or a simple image…It was therapeutic to summarize all my feelings toward the current administration into six simple words.”
Student Debby Burns felt similarly: “Our guest speaker Michael Buchert, an Art instructor, spoke to us about the power of protesting. We were shown slogans from the 60s that are still unmet today. We then created our own protest signs that we will share with the class at quarter’s end.”
On the last day class, students hosted a gathering to mark the end of a fruitful and invigorating quarter! Students shared their final “vision board” projects and described some of the actions that they took over the course of the quarter and documented on the “Wall of Resistance.” It was a powerful discussion in which students discussed what they learned, how they plan to continue their advocacy, and how we might all engage in acts of resistance and activism moving forward.