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The Ecology of Democracy, Chapter 6 - Your point of view - 2

Hello Everyone,

Our classroom discussions have centered on a chapter you were assigned from The Ecology of Democracy.

This is a gentle reminder that your posts and responses are due by Monday, November 27th by midnight. Keep in mind, you are to write a well thought-out, meaningful reflection paper about your group project  and respond to two of your classmates papers, for a minimum total of three posts.

Remember, we are interested in your original thoughts and ideas! This assignment is designed to get you to think critically and engage in a civil discussion with your classmates about the democratic process of problem solving as it relates to you in the classroom and in the community.

Please do not wait until the last minute; post early and often. Each post will be graded based on the quality of the content. Your post should cover some aspect of the chapter you are reading including the problem, process, program and projected outcome. Please use this link to enter the website http://ecologyofdemocracy.org/.

You will make your posts in the classroom conversations area; under the thread The Ecology of Democracy Your point of View-2. You can also receive up to 20 points extra credit by answering the thread question: How do you understand the role of citizens or the citizenry in a democracy?  If you have not registered, you will need to do so. Feel free to catch me in class or shoot me an email if you have any questions.

Best

Comments

Upool's picture

In the classroom setting I agree that all group did get exactly what they wanted and a great outcome however, in real life I disagree. I believe that in real life it would almost be impossible to come together and our project would be a mess and it would take decades to organize.  I believe that most effective way to incorporate all of our problems is to keep them separated or for them to be included in the Flint Master plan. This assignment showed me the importance of contributing to the community. 

Njones's picture

I definetly concur with what you said. In real life I feel like just getting one project together would be a ton of work. Getting everyone to agree and put a definite plan in place for many projects to combine would be nearly impossible. It is much easier said than done.

N alkhadrawi's picture

I strongly agree with you, working in group in the class is The best way to get different ideas but i definitly  agreed with the last comment that it is very difficult to meet with one of the members in your group and to combine your time with their time. 

Ulaurin's picture

Getting involved in bettering a community can sometimes be difficult for people because they do not where to start, or how to go about getting involved. Luckily, many communities have many sources where someone can go to find organizations, and projects that need help. In my class, each group was given a problem in our community, and we had to come up with programs on how we could help these groups with $5000 that was to be divided amongst the groups as needed. My group was given the task of coming up with a valuable program to gang violence in our community. When trying to come up with a solution to a problem, it is often difficult to collaborate with others, and keep everyone in the group happy, so when reading Chapter 6 in The Ecology of Democracy, I took note of the importance of getting involved in the community and kept an open mind when listening to other’s ideas. My group created a problem, process, program, and projected outcome for gang violence.

    The process we used to come up with our program, and how we planned to get our ideas out into the community was to advertise on local radio stations, and social media to make our program well-known throughout the community with minimal extra costs. We also held several meetings in class to discuss our topic and the execution of our plan. We also had community meetings with the mayor to make sure everyone was on the same page on where the money was going to go, and to what it was going towards.

    Our group planned to use the $5,000 to rent out a movie theater that will play the movie “Straight Outta Compton” as a way to raise awareness of gang violence. The tickets for the movie will be priced at $10, which will generate money for gang rescue and support programs that are currently in existence. We will also use the money to advertise on local radio stations and social media if it requires money.

    The projected outcome for our program is that we hope for all proceeds from the tickets will go to the already existing gang rescue and support groups in hopes that we will help remove people from being associated in gangs. Our overall hopes for our program is bring as much attention to gang violence, and how it affects Flint’s community, and to give back to existing organizations to continue helping people in gangs get off the streets.

    When working in a group of people, it is especially important to make people feel like their ideas are being heard and valued. My group was good at taking the time to understand each person’s point of view, and compromising between people’s ideas. Attendance is extremely important to creating a successful program as well because if everyone in the group is not present, they will not know what is going on the group, and they will not be actively involved in the group discussions. Fortunately, my group members were always there, so we did not have an issue with people being confused or frustrated. Although we found ways to work well together, we did run into obstacles as we were brainstorming our ideas. For instance, we had a hard time finding a movie that portrayed gang violence the way we wanted it to be depicted by the audience. Also, we did not know at first how to go about using the money as effectively as possible. It was difficult to keep our ideas organized, and, since we did not go to class every day to discuss our program, we had to find other ways of communicating like group text messaging.

    After my group came up with a plan to help gang violence in my community, all the groups had to come together and decide how to divide the $5000 from the mayor amongst the groups. The directors from each group came together to discuss how the money was to be divided, and figured a well-thought-out plan of how to make each group’s organizations happy and successful.

    In my opinion, the role of citizens in a democracy is to take part in decisions being made, and to be actively involved in community projects. The decisions that governments make affect everyone in a community and beyond, so it is important in a democracy to take advantage of your freedom and make you voice heard. I recommend that if someone wants to get involved in their community, then they should read The Ecology of Democracy see why it is important to participate, and be aware of what is happening in their community.  

    

 

Uabueita's picture

 

There are many ways that society is faced with issues and our job as a community is to raise awarness and induce a change to these issues. Based on Chapter 6 of "The Ecology of Democracy", our Let's Go Arts class conducted a project in which the class is divided into groups and each group was assigned a common issue and some money to plan a turn on this issue. My group was assigned homelessness and our group must create a plan to raise homelesness awarness and goals on the prevention of it. This was a neat and fun experience to plan the process and the "behind the scenes" plan for action. We must brainstorm the process, program usage, and how to collaborate with various organizations to solve this issue in the city of Flint.

Immediately after the topic was given to our group, many ideas were thrown onto paper. It is safe to say that 7 of our group members contributed their ideas on this issue, many ideas were thrown out and some were kept.As far as awarness goes, we will be posting flyers all around the city to attend a homelessness documentary. We all agreed on building a GoFundMe page in order to receive donations from people who think highly of this issue. Another method of receiving donations is by asking churches and nonprofit organizations for aid in the precvention of this problem. All donations can be transferred to homelessness shelters and also the money can go to a film/documentary that we decided to create. 

The next mode of action is what content will be shown on the documentary and where it will be shown. As far as the content, the group chose to conduct interviews with the local homless people and ask them significant questions regarding their lives and where they want to be at if they had the chance. These testimonies can enter the hearts of humanity, every human should be given a chance in this life and we must take action to allowing that to happen.The group chose several locations where this can take place and based on what the directors decisions are, some content will be added to the documentary and others not.

After all these things were decided, the next step was collaboration, working with other groups in the class to reach each other's goals to create the largest impact possible. For example, we decided that our film can be shown at Group 3's museum, Group 7's museum, and Group 5's theater. These collaborations will allow a wide spread message to the flint community. Each person in the group contributed a lot even though somepeople missed some days, everyone was updated. 

I learned that communication is key when doing projects like these. By communication, I mean for everyone to have the ability of sharing their ideas and not just have one person take controlon this aspect. It will be much more impactful if everyone collaborates together to reach this common goal of decreasing homelessness rates. I believe this was a weak spot in our group because some group members are still shy to contribute, even though they probably have some outstandin ideas to offer.

All in all, this project really taught me the value of our lives and how we are living in heaven comapred to the homeless community and we must make a change in their lives in order for them to reach the same stage we are at in the near future. A whole community of people must come together and make a difference to how are society is shaped and this can be done only as a team, with the power of communication and sharing ideas. Chapter 6 talks about being involved and making decisions and this project really opened our eyes to this aspect of life and how to better our community as a whole.

 

Uabueita's picture

 

There are many ways that society is faced with issues and our job as a community is to raise awarness and induce a change to these issues. Based on Chapter 6 of "The Ecology of Democracy", our Let's Go Arts class conducted a project in which the class is divided into groups and each group was assigned a common issue and some money to plan a turn on this issue. My group was assigned homelessness and our group must create a plan to raise homelesness awarness and goals on the prevention of it. This was a neat and fun experience to plan the process and the "behind the scenes" plan for action. We must brainstorm the process, program usage, and how to collaborate with various organizations to solve this issue in the city of Flint.

Immediately after the topic was given to our group, many ideas were thrown onto paper. It is safe to say that 7 of our group members contributed their ideas on this issue, many ideas were thrown out and some were kept.As far as awarness goes, we will be posting flyers all around the city to attend a homelessness documentary. We all agreed on building a GoFundMe page in order to receive donations from people who think highly of this issue. Another method of receiving donations is by asking churches and nonprofit organizations for aid in the precvention of this problem. All donations can be transferred to homelessness shelters and also the money can go to a film/documentary that we decided to create. 

The next mode of action is what content will be shown on the documentary and where it will be shown. As far as the content, the group chose to conduct interviews with the local homless people and ask them significant questions regarding their lives and where they want to be at if they had the chance. These testimonies can enter the hearts of humanity, every human should be given a chance in this life and we must take action to allowing that to happen.The group chose several locations where this can take place and based on what the directors decisions are, some content will be added to the documentary and others not.

After all these things were decided, the next step was collaboration, working with other groups in the class to reach each other's goals to create the largest impact possible. For example, we decided that our film can be shown at Group 3's museum, Group 7's museum, and Group 5's theater. These collaborations will allow a wide spread message to the flint community. Each person in the group contributed a lot even though somepeople missed some days, everyone was updated. 

I learned that communication is key when doing projects like these. By communication, I mean for everyone to have the ability of sharing their ideas and not just have one person take controlon this aspect. It will be much more impactful if everyone collaborates together to reach this common goal of decreasing homelessness rates. I believe this was a weak spot in our group because some group members are still shy to contribute, even though they probably have some outstandin ideas to offer.

All in all, this project really taught me the value of our lives and how we are living in heaven comapred to the homeless community and we must make a change in their lives in order for them to reach the same stage we are at in the near future. A whole community of people must come together and make a difference to how are society is shaped and this can be done only as a team, with the power of communication and sharing ideas. Chapter 6 talks about being involved and making decisions and this project really opened our eyes to this aspect of life and how to better our community as a whole.

 

UHawcroft's picture

Community involvement is important to a successful society. To demonstrate this in a class setting, my professors divided our class into 8 groups and instructed us to select and art medium. The group I was a member of and ultimately “director” of our choice, theater. Collectively, not knowing what to was to be the expected purpose of the assignment, we selected theater because one of our members has been a part of theater for most of his life and sounded like it would fit our collective abilities. Following our confirmation of medium choice, a relevant topic/issue facing our community was distributed to each group. My group was told to discuss ways to educate and assist the community in bringing awareness to teen pregnancy. We had to cover the categories of problem, process, program, and the projected outcome. The final component before beginning collaboration, was a possible budget from the city of $25,000.

The process was our in-class meetings, where we discussed that the focus should be to educate minors on the consequences of and ways to prevent/avoid pregnancy. Our idea was to produce short interactive skits designed for both middle school and high school aged teens. Within this theory, we planned to gain approval from various school principals and schedule assemblies. The school would have the responsibility of informing parents and obtaining their consent or denial for their child(ren) to attend. There are many diverse perspectives that may come up during the post discussion of the presentation. Gaining permission gives permission for the student to hear words that may be considered ‘offensive’ depending on their individual background knowledge and/or beliefs. The program is the implementation of visiting schools and sharing the message. Our projected outcome is to help reduce teen pregnancy and bring awareness to the community on how they can help. As much as individuals want to, it can be hard to thrive on their own, support is essential for solid growth. You may have heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”.

Over the course of this project we learned to adapt and compromise for the benefit of the all. During the time of discussion, our budget was cut down to $5,000. The reduction in funding was not crippling to our group. We decided that our theater building and cast was already established and we chose to use volunteers to advertise to gain further assistance if needed. I enjoyed the activity, it encouraged us to take a look at the complexity of teamwork from start to finish, including the unknown circumstances that arise. The project also allowed unity of ideas to develop among different viewpoints in search of a solution to a common and significant problem. The problem being teen pregnancy affects the community and requires their involvement to address it successfully.

 

UCambri's picture

I think our groups had different ideas, but I like how the group directors were able to combine all their projects into a whole community project. It seems like your group did not have much difficulty with adjusting to the budget cuts. On the other hand, we had some issues trying to adjust our project of building a museum for women who have faced domestic violence. I think it's nice that you were able to come up with a project that wouldn't have to be so focused on money and that you involve schools to join in on your cause.

Ntola's picture

In my life, there has been many teen pregnancies around me in school. Bringing awareness to this is very important. This idea you guys came up with was a good one. Telling people, expecially teens, about certain things in their life is a little hard. But, showing them, to me, is better and shows a more visual consequence to their actions. Good job.

N halmatro's picture

"The school would have the responsibility of informing parents and obtaining their consent or denial for their child(ren) to attend"

I completely agree with you specifically in this point it would be really helpful for the children to do something that very good especially the teenagers age. We were having a different issue and I have never came up with ideas like your group good job.

Uwhalen's picture

This is a difficult subject to teach to children, especially to more sheltered students who may not have any idea what you are talking about when it comes to sex, like how I was in sixth grade when our class was given "the talk."  In my school district and many others, students are taught that abstinence is the only option.  I remember awkwardly sitting in a room with my classmates while the principal and another staff member lectured us about the horrors of unprotected sex (basically STDs).  We were never taught about safe sex, we were never taught about how to use contraception, we were never taught that it was possible to have sex WITHOUT getting pregnant or developing a nasty infection.  So we left that room after hearing so many negative things about sex, feeling confused and wondering how people could even live a happy, healthy life after they'd "done it."  

Many children, myself included, had to learn on our own, that safe sex is an option, let alone a more effective option than abstinence when it comes to reducing teen pregnancies.  Rather than encouraging students to repress their sexual desires and basically shame them into thinking sex is an atrocity, school districts should adopt a safe sex education program, which informs students about the many ways they can protect themselves from both STDs and unwanted pregnancies.  (The abstinance-only policy obviously did not work in my school district, I knew at least four teen girls who got pregnant.) 

Of course, there is a fine line between encouraging sex and encouraging safe sex, and this program would have to be carefully constructed to avoid misinterpretation.  Educating young people on the RIGHT ways to avoid unwanted pregnancies is crucial if we ever expect to significantly lower teen pregnancy rates.  

Hats off to your group for figuring out a way to do this for elementary students, I wouldn't even know where to begin.  

UCambri's picture

            My group was assigned the issue of domestic violence, specifically of women, in Flint. As a group, we created a process to figure out how we can solve this issue, a program for how we can realistically go about solving this issue, and we considered possible future outcomes. Since there was a budget, our group, along with other groups in our community were limited with the amount we could spend. Due to this, all the group members were involved and had to work together to figure out the most cost-effective, yet resourceful way our project could realistically be carried out in the Flint community. Some conflicts with our ideas would arise when a new stipulation was imposed by the professors, which were usually budget cuts. As a group, we made a collective effort to solve these issues and later, compromise with other groups as we combined our projects together as a community.

            Specifically, my group members and I decided that the best idea to conquer the issue of domestic violence is to set up a museum and offer a program for these women who have suffered. We believe it is only fair that the women primarily hired at this museum are those who have faced this issue.

Our process initially requires community involvement and encourages funds from local community schools or colleges to promote our idea of a museum. Thereafter, we intend on figuring out transportation offered to get to the museum, and maybe convincing the local bus transportation to add an additional stop or route for the convenience of the staff and visitors. There would be an opening night to showcase art created and inspired by the women who suffer or have suffered from domestic violence. Promotions/marketing for this event, along with the creation of this museum, would include putting up flyers throughout the town and in local businesses. Eventually, we would have liked to work with a local television or film company to create an advertisement or short film that could air on TV to assist the promotion of this idea.

A program will be set up for women who have experienced abuse and will mainly be a support group for these women to attend. To help resolve their issues, this program will be centered around “healing through art”, where the victims make creative pieces in fine arts or visual performing arts. Eventually, these projects (featuring short films, music/theatre performances, and an art gallery) could be displayed at the showcase night of the museum.

The projected outcome for conquering this issue is to help those affected by domestic violence feel like they belong and have a secure job where they could start working at the museum. We hope that after museum is set up, the community is more vigilant about abusers and are more empathetic towards those who faced domestic violence. We hope that donations will constantly keep coming in, especially after the showcase night. The proceeds from auctioning off some of the women’s art will eventually go towards building a women’s shelter for those who do not have a home due to violence at home.

In the future, understanding the citizens’ role is vital for a successful democracy. An ideal democracy requires complete involvement and participation, however, that would mean being a “model citizen” would be an occupation. So instead we should all share similar values in how we should take action in our community. We tend to be reward those who are “model citizens” for their outstanding work they have contributed to the community; however, we must realize that we all have the capability to be such citizens. The most important aspect of being a citizen is simply to be involved. People in a community are up to date with issues that immediately affect them, so they are constantly informed. Citizens could attend town meetings, most especially if everyone in the town is directly affected with issues (especially with the Flint Water Crisis). Participating in community events, such as a school fundraiser, or even utilizing the direct goods and services offered in your immediate area. 

Ntola's picture

I really liked how you thought about transportation issues that might come up. I would never have thought of that. My group was also a museum involved with homeless people with mental illnesses. We also thought of holding an exhibit, but it was about anything, not the specific problem. Good idea. This whole project was well put together and inspiring. Good job.

N halmatro's picture

Nowadays transportation is a big issue so love the way of Solving the problem in your group you came up with really good ideas and the showing night in the museum was useful 

ULeflore's picture

I liked how your group tried to expand their project by getting more resources to allow more people to come and get more exposure. Domestic abuse is a very tramutic idea for women and men to be able to go to a safe space and use art as an outlet of their pain is beautiful. The museum could be used to enable people to feel empowered and to let them know that what is going on is not there fault and that it's not just them. 
I'm sure at the muesum there will be more resources provided to enable men and women to get the help that they may need including couseling. Your plan was very well thought out and very different from other groups

USymons's picture

            Chapter 6 of The Ecology of Democracy starts out with saying, “I BELIEVE THAT AMERICA NEEDS the work citizens do with citizens in order to deal with persistent, truly wicked problems and to complement the efforts of schools, governments, and other institutions” (Mathews p67). We did just that in our Ecology of Democracy project. Our class was divided into groups where we were each given an issue plaguing our community to address as an art organization. With a limited budget, we had to find creative ways to support the needs of Flint.

            My group decided to be a production company and was given child abuse as our issue to address. Our plan was to create a program where kids would get exposure to the production process and film equipment, all the while creating relationships with adults. We planned to reach out the administration at the Flint Community School District and have them decide the best elementary school in the district to go into to. Once in the school, we would talk to the principal, administration, and teachers about the issue at hand and educate them on child abuse warning signs along with the best way to talk about it with children. Conversations would also be had with the social worker and counselors within the school to better understand the demographics and to have them be a part of the program.

            In order to make the program come together, we decided the counselors, social worker, and teachers would decide which students are best fit for the program. Once selected, the children would then come to us in an available room at the school for a small portion of their school day where they would be able to experiment with the equipment and learn more about the jobs within a production team and how a film comes together. All the while, and most importantly, the children would have conversations and create relationships with us and the other adult volunteers.

            Overall, the program would create trust between the children and the volunteers, showing the children that they don’t need to fear adults. This would also give the children someone to open up to and feel comfortable with when talking about their possible abuse at home. The social workers and counselors would then have the opportunity to take action if necessary. The children would also have a chance to do something they enjoy that brings out their creative side, which would bring relief from the stress at home. If the program were to go as planned, it would hopefully be implemented in other schools as well.

            It’s organizations like these that support our society. They create this idea of community that we have all come to know and understand. As Mathews talks about in chapter 6 of The Ecology of Democracy, we need to work together in order to tackle these “wicked problems”. Organizations that do their part in supporting our community, such as the one we created, inform citizens and create/ bring out values within people, reminding us of the good in the world. There are many ways to support the community and to even create a sense of community, and in reality art organizations are only a small part of this.

            

Ukcollins's picture

I enjoyed your groups idea and thought that it would be a great experience for students. This program could teach them newthings and give them confidence in themselves. As a child, they are vulnerable and feel sometimes that nobody understands what they are going through in this situation, so I believe taking them away from the situation will help them. Also, giving them soemone to talk to like conselors can hep them better understand that they are not alone. I believe that if you took it a step farther and were able to remove these children from the abusive homes sing the help of the conselors and starting a care program along with your production prrogram, this would better improve the children's lives. 

Unorris's picture

In the begining, when our group was told what to chose for an arts program or company, we chose a production team. Then we were assigned with the task of lowering child abuse. By the time we were done discussing, we had a solution that we all could agree on and eveyone had put in at least a little bit of their ideas too. Our idea was to start off with one elementary school and for teachers within that school to take a class about noticing the signs of child abuse in kids. If a teacher did believe that a student was being abused they would talk to that student about being put into a program during school that lasted about 30 minutes to an hour. During that time, our production team would bring out equiptment to the school and work with the students about teaching out to use cameras and prodction equiptment or even learn to act. Having a safe enviornment where the children could learn about something new, while also learning to trust adults is important for them to open up about what would be happening in their lives. If they were getting abused at home, these kids probably would not trust others easily. But being involved in a positive envoirnment like that could improve their mental health and eventually, with that built trust, they would learn that it is okay to talk about what was happening to them. If the first school was a success, then we would put the plan into other schools as well.

Throughout this whole process, about half of our group put in the most ideas. They laid down the ground work for the plan. However, the rest of the group put in good information too. They helped to fill the holes in the plan and brought up questions that would have needed to be solved. So while not everyone contributed the same, everyone still had important key faction that they had put in the plan and they were attentive, taking notes, and understood the process. No one really stood out as not doing anything or not paying attention at all. Everyone contributed something. We never met outside of class, but we did have a group text where the director of our program would ask for our opinion before posting or doing anything. That way, we were still connected and working together.

I learned a lot from this project. It takes quite a bit of trust in your teamates to help you think of ideas that will benefit the cause. Not only that, but as I was not the director of our group, I and my other groupmates also had to put trust in our director to get certain things done. One thing that I think did help our group was that we added an assistant director, even when we were not asked to. That way, all the weight was not weighing on one person. When the directors of our group and other groups had to get together, we had two people to come back and tell us what was discussed. We learned more information that way and it made our group process run much smoother. I also learned how to work with different types of people. Throughout our lives we will have to experience that over and over. While I believe my group got along very well and we worked excellent with eachother, I understand that that will not always be the case.

ukelsey's picture

I agree with you when you talked about how you learned alot from this project. I feel that trust is a big key when dealing with teammates because if one person doesnt get there work done then we have to do it for them. 

trmgr's picture

Our class was broken down into 8 different groups, where each group was to create a hypothetical method to solve some of the prevailing issues in our community. Each group was to use one art medium to aid us in our efforts to solve our issue along with a $5,000 budget. The groups were also told to elect one team leader. My group was asked to brainstorm a strategy to combat racism in Flint Michigan and I was our team’s leader.

After multiple constructive group meetings and collaborating on google doc, we decided that a short, yet powerful documentary was the best plan of attack given our constraints. We proposed using our $5,000 budget to rent production equipment, then go into town, interviewing anyone willing to share their experience with the rest of the world. When creating the film, we would first chat with the interviewee, asking them relatable questions like what they do for a living, if they have family members, and what their hobbies are. After a certain degree of relatability was established, we would ask the person interviewed if they had ever experienced racism. After they described their experience, we would then ask them how that experience made them feel, how it affected them.

We decided to take a page out of the book Ecology of Democracy by David Mathews and figured that appealing to the public’s basic human values would help inspire further action. After all, watching someone else’s reaction to such a horrible experience is bound to at least bring all viewers down to the same level. This would then hopefully cultivate less tolerance for racism in our community and encourage bystanders to shame perpetrators.  

To display our film we asked another group, who rented movie theater, to have showings of our film. Since our main goal is to spread awareness, we decided that not charging money for the show was the best means of attracting viewers and consequently building a stronger communal understanding about the issue.

Later we were informed that instead of all groups receiving $5,000, that sum was to be dispersed among all of the groups. This did pose a slight problem for our group because we needed the full sum for recording equipment. We were, however, able to devise an alternative plan to accomplish our goal through further team collaboration and connecting with other group representatives. We chose to rely on public judgment and request sponsorships from local companies, institutions, and anyone looking to help our cause. We were quite confident that citizens from both the public and private sectors would be interested in sponsoring a documentary focused on ending racism in Flint.

Beyond aiding the fight to stop racism in Flint, we also wanted to provoke some public deliberation within our community about the topic. Our documentary was one that clearly displayed racism and its effects on others. Those who care about the Flint community were encouraged to gather and converse in the same manner as our group. We felt that bringing in businesses and other organizations from the city would liken the chances of furthering communication within the city about racism in our community.

 Furthermore, for change to take place affected members of a community need to voice their opinions. Not only does the documentary voice the opinion that racism is not tolerated in our community, it does so with the voices of our community funded by our community.

Tom Ermiger

trmgr's picture

Our class was broken down into 8 different groups, where each group was to create a hypothetical method to solve some of the prevailing issues in our community. Each group was to use one art medium to aid us in our efforts to solve our issue along with a $5,000 budget. The groups were also told to elect one team leader. My group was asked to brainstorm a strategy to combat racism in Flint Michigan and I was our team’s leader.

After multiple constructive group meetings and collaborating on google doc, we decided that a short, yet powerful documentary was the best plan of attack given our constraints. We proposed using our $5,000 budget to rent production equipment, then go into town, interviewing anyone willing to share their experience with the rest of the world. When creating the film, we would first chat with the interviewee, asking them relatable questions like what they do for a living, if they have family members, and what their hobbies are. After a certain degree of relatability was established, we would ask the person interviewed if they had ever experienced racism. After they described their experience, we would then ask them how that experience made them feel, how it affected them.

We decided to take a page out of the book Ecology of Democracy by David Mathews and figured that appealing to the public’s basic human values would help inspire further action. After all, watching someone else’s reaction to such a horrible experience is bound to at least bring all viewers down to the same level. This would then hopefully cultivate less tolerance for racism in our community and encourage bystanders to shame perpetrators.  

To display our film we asked another group, who rented movie theater, to have showings of our film. Since our main goal is to spread awareness, we decided that not charging money for the show was the best means of attracting viewers and consequently building a stronger communal understanding about the issue.

Later we were informed that instead of all groups receiving $5,000, that sum was to be dispersed among all of the groups. This did pose a slight problem for our group because we needed the full sum for recording equipment. We were, however, able to devise an alternative plan to accomplish our goal through further team collaboration and connecting with other group representatives. We chose to rely on public judgment and request sponsorships from local companies, institutions, and anyone looking to help our cause. We were quite confident that citizens from both the public and private sectors would be interested in sponsoring a documentary focused on ending racism in Flint.

Beyond aiding the fight to stop racism in Flint, we also wanted to provoke some public deliberation within our community about the topic. Our documentary was one that clearly displayed racism and its effects on others. Those who care about the Flint community were encouraged to gather and converse in the same manner as our group. We felt that bringing in businesses and other organizations from the city would liken the chances of furthering communication within the city about racism in our community.

 Furthermore, for change to take place affected members of a community need to voice their opinions. Not only does the documentary voice the opinion that racism is not tolerated in our community, it does so with the voices of our community funded by our community.

Tom Ermiger

trmgr's picture

Our class was broken down into 8 different groups, where each group was to create a hypothetical method to solve some of the prevailing issues in our community. Each group was to use one art medium to aid us in our efforts to solve our issue along with a $5,000 budget. The groups were also told to elect one team leader. My group was asked to brainstorm a strategy to combat racism in Flint Michigan and I was our team’s leader.

After multiple constructive group meetings and collaborating on google doc, we decided that a short, yet powerful documentary was the best plan of attack given our constraints. We proposed using our $5,000 budget to rent production equipment, then go into town, interviewing anyone willing to share their experience with the rest of the world. When creating the film, we would first chat with the interviewee, asking them relatable questions like what they do for a living, if they have family members, and what their hobbies are. After a certain degree of relatability was established, we would ask the person interviewed if they had ever experienced racism. After they described their experience, we would then ask them how that experience made them feel, how it affected them.

We decided to take a page out of the book Ecology of Democracy by David Mathews and figured that appealing to the public’s basic human values would help inspire further action. After all, watching someone else’s reaction to such a horrible experience is bound to at least bring all viewers down to the same level. This would then hopefully cultivate less tolerance for racism in our community and encourage bystanders to shame perpetrators.  

To display our film we asked another group, who rented movie theater, to have showings of our film. Since our main goal is to spread awareness, we decided that not charging money for the show was the best means of attracting viewers and consequently building a stronger communal understanding about the issue.

Later we were informed that instead of all groups receiving $5,000, that sum was to be dispersed among all of the groups. This did pose a slight problem for our group because we needed the full sum for recording equipment. We were, however, able to devise an alternative plan to accomplish our goal through further team collaboration and connecting with other group representatives. We chose to rely on public judgment and request sponsorships from local companies, institutions, and anyone looking to help our cause. We were quite confident that citizens from both the public and private sectors would be interested in sponsoring a documentary focused on ending racism in Flint.

Beyond aiding the fight to stop racism in Flint, we also wanted to provoke some public deliberation within our community about the topic. Our documentary was one that clearly displayed racism and its effects on others. Those who care about the Flint community were encouraged to gather and converse in the same manner as our group. We felt that bringing in businesses and other organizations from the city would liken the chances of furthering communication within the city about racism in our community.

 Furthermore, for change to take place affected members of a community need to voice their opinions. Not only does the documentary voice the opinion that racism is not tolerated in our community, it does so with the voices of our community funded by our community.

Tom Ermiger

N halmatro's picture

I strongly agree with your thoughts of solving the problem.. in Our group we were having the same subject it was about the Theater organization of racism in high school , it was really interesting working to solve this issue because it’s became so popular !!

UCampana's picture

I think it was very interesting how you choose a documentary to help solve the issue that was at hand. Racism is a tough issue to handle, but much like some of the movies that are out in theaters or have been, showing the difficulties of these issues through a visual aid is a good start. Looking at the effects of racism is also a strong and effective way of showing the community what is actually going on behind the scenes of societies glass mirror. The only way for people to change an issue is by voicing their opinions. 

Ntola's picture

In my class, we were divided into groups to come up with an arts institution to help a certain situation that was going on. We had a certain amount of money to come up with how to help the types of people we got. Every now and then, our teacher would give us “bad news” involving a certain situation, like, we have less money to start off with, you have so much time to come up with a decision.

My group, a museum, was involved in helping and giving awareness to people who were homeless, mostly around the ones with mental illnesses. We decided a bunch of things to raise money. We made an exhibit we would show from local artists which the profits would be put into the project. After the exhibit is finished, we’d host a black-tie auction event to sell the art shown. There would also be a permanent donation box in the museum. We also thought about buying an apartment building to house the homeless. It would also be used by artists to create anything they wanted. Volunteers would help renovate it. We’d also ask a psychologist to come by every so often to help the homeless. Also, psychologist interns to work all the time. We’d also help the homeless get back on their feet and get jobs.

            Throughout this experience, I thought of all the homeless people on the streets I sometimes see. There’s one near my house. I also have a friend with a mental illness that I try to help as much as I can. It helped me think of ways to help people in need. I liked how everyone came together and put their ideas together to create something that could possibly work.

            There were some problems, like I said about the change of money availability, less time. We came up with asking churches to house some homeless people while the apartment building was being renovated, more donation opportunities, etc. There could be a problem with getting a psychologist and/or interns to help work with us, getting local artists to donate their art work, construction workers not being able to help with the renovations, and a couple other things. But, we persevered with our ideas and thought it would all work out.

            Throughout this project, we thought about our values in the idea of homeless people and mental. We wanted to help the people in need. To me, it makes me feel like, if I’m in need, someone will help me. Something like good Karma. Some people don’t want to help because they are too lazy, or it’s something that they don’t think needs them. I’m one of those people. I’m not a doer. But, with this project, it made me think about situations in life that needs people.

Uwilson's picture

I think your idea of hosting an art exhibit and auction in order to raise money for your project was very smart, events like that can really generate money. I also enjoyed how you talked about getting a psychologist to help the mentally ill homeless people because, mental illnesses are serious and should be properly handled by a professional. 

Njones's picture

My class was separated into the five groups that we have been part of since day one of class. Our initial mission was simply to pick an art group we wanted to be. Two groups chose museums, two chose to be a theater company, and another was a movie production company. I was part of group 1 and we were a group that chose to be a museum.  

After the groups chose their arts affiliation, we found out how this connected with what we would be doing in class. My group was tasked with addressing the issue of homelessness. We were an art museum that had to help tackle this issue of homelessness, keeping in mind that some of these individuals suffer from mental illness. Realistically, this project would be a ton of work and I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Coming up with a plan with my group though, it was pretty easy. 

Originally all of the groups were given a theoretical allowance of 25,000 dollars to complete our project. With our particular plan we needed a steady supply of money to keep it going. We chose to recruit local artists to donate their time and artwork to our auction that we would eventually have. A week before our high-class, black tie auction, we were going to display the artwork at our museum to get people excited to buy. We were also going to make a direct donation box a permanent fixture within our museum. 

In addition to our donation box and auction, we would start a Go-Fund-Me to help with the cost of purchasing a building to renovate for the homeless. We were going to secure a building and recruit volunteers to help turn the building into efficiency apartments for homeless people to stay. With any luck we could get local artists and contractors to volunteer time and resources. It was our plan to get these people housed and on their feet. For the people that suffer from mental illness, we had planned to have an office within the building to make sure the residents make the appointments. We would have intern psychologists help to treat these people and for those that are unable to work, our staff would help fill out any required paperwork to get them social security and health insurance.  

As stated in chapter 6 of Ecology Of Democracy, political imperatives are very close in relation to personal ones. We all need to satisfy our basic needs for survival, food, water, and shelter. As citizens in a city, we want to be proud of it. It is hard to be proud of a city that is not capable of meeting even the bare minimum of human needs. 

My group was easy to come up with ideas with. Most of us threw out ideas, some just listened and put in their input when it was needed. I felt inspired talking about this with my group, like something more really needs to be done. Honestly, it is a bit difficult to be proud of my city and surrounding areas when I see all of these homeless people on the streets, not being helped up.  

After we came up with our plan and process or how we were going to accomplish this task we came up with the projected outcome, which was simple. The ultimate goal of this plan is to help the homeless get back on their feet and back into the workforce if they are able, and social security if they are unable. The ones that are able to live on their own would eventually move out when they had stable funds to do so.  

After we came up with all of this, our "mayor" had cut our funds to just 5,000 dollars. This was okay, because we had all of these donations and fake funding in place. It would just take longer to break ground on the project. We decided to add donation boxes elsewhere and to advertise in the papers as well as radio to get the word out.  

Eventually, our funds were cut to just 1,000 dollars. As I stated though, this wasn’t too much of a blow as we planned to operate almost entirely off of volunteers and donations anyway. The real big hitter was from the 25,000 to 5,000 dollars. That money could have bought a building and paid for some supplies. As a team though, we just all agreed that we would just stick with our original plans, it would just take us longer to raise money as we did not know how much we would get from donations or the auction.  

UCampana's picture

Our group was tasked with solving the problem of domestic abuse inside of the household. We were given an initial $25,000 budget to work with, and then a $5,000 budget after the government removed some of our funding. We had to find a way to branch out the problem to the community and create some sort of production that could help to do this. 

To identify the problem at large is domestic abuse. However, there are many more problems that come along with this issue, and how to help raise awareness of this problem. We had to find a way to mention a topic that is somewhat hard to talk about for families. Thinking about the women, we wanted to provide them an environment to feel safe to talk about what they were doing or express how they were feeling in other forms besides art. We also had to figure out a way to get the husbands, or male figures in the community involved so they could learn what was happening as well. We had to do this in a relatively short amount of time, which is why chapter 6 was talking about sound or hasty decision.  While it may have been a hasty plan when we put this all together, it was one that was sound and well thought out.

The process of figuring out how to incorporate all of these problems into one event. There was also the problem of finding out the staging area and where we are gonna get funding and host the event. The first step was to figure out where we could do this. We then thought about what else we could get money from, and then what supplies we would actually need to begin this event. After we figured that out, we began to plan on the specifics of the event and what it would entail. 

The program we thought of was in our art museum, which we had already owned, and it was to give those who have suffered domestic abuse a  platform to demonstrate their talents and their feelings through the creation of their own art pieces. We got supplies from local schools and artists in the area, all donated, and we gave them time on a private section of the museum to talk and do their work. We then picked a night at the museum to display all of these pieces of art, and hire these woman to talk about it and staff the museum for the night. This was so that they can get the extra work for those who need it, and be able to talk to the people about their artwork that they have made. 

The result of this project was one of a changed viewpoint on domestic violence in the workplace. The expected outcome of the event is that we were able to get a larger portion of the community out to see the event and open the eyes of the people. It takes a community effort to stop something as cruel and evil as domestic violence, and the only way for this effort to come full-proof is through the voice of the people. 

 

trmgr's picture

Domestic abuse is an extremely important issue that needs addressing. I thought the idea of creating an art museum was a very interesting way to go about solving the problem. Furthermore, having a night designated to staffing the museum with victims of domestic abuse was even more powerful. I know many people, including myself, who would find an event like the art showing extremely interesting. I feel as though you would attract a large portion of the Flint population if an idea like the museum were to be enacted. I also liked how your group came together and maneuvered around the funding obstacle. Perhaps you could even sell off the pieces the women made for the museum and figured out a way to pay them for their work while also donating to another cause geared towards ending domestic abuse. 

Tom Ermiger

USoukamneuth's picture

Art is a great way for those who are sufferring to express themselves. Showing support and giving victims of domestic violence an outlet is a great step towards resolving the issue. A recommendation that I would add to furthermore help the issue would be to collaborate with different groups and agencies that are made to stop the cruel and evil acts of domestic violence. By doing so, your group would have a solid base to work off of and could help this other group or agency continue to aid the victims of domestic violence. Both groups would help each other tremendously to make a change in the community.