NJ Youth Utilize the Arts to #StopTheHate

Image credit is Visual Arts winner by Camilla G.

February 27, 2022—One of the ongoing themes of my work in Community Engagement is the promotion of youth and arts education. The vision of the world that youth express through art is insightful and powerful. That’s why I wanted to share with the readers of Arts & Culture Connections the opportunity to virtually visit the multimedia campaign #StopTheHate in New Jersey.

The youth submitted art, videos, and hashtag slogans last year in response to the release of the state’s Youth Bias Task Force Report. The report provided a comprehensive review of how institutional bias continues to pervade New Jersey and impact young people across the state. Most importantly, the report called for sweeping policy changes, including anti-bias training for NJ teachers; the strengthening of the NJ hate crime laws, and significant changes to classroom curricula.

The Youth Bias Task Force Student Competition was open to youth under the age of 25 to submit work that addressed the theme of #StopTheHate. The submissions spotlighted the many ways the multimedia talents of youth can address and inspire the public to pay attention to their concerns about racial justice and the discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. You can see the work of all the winners of the competition at this link.

The Montclair Arts Museum, in partnership with the NJ Division on Civil Rights (NJDCR), made space for 44 of the artworks to be on exhibition. However, all of the work can be seen virtually at this link on the NJDCR’s website. This effort also was supported by the Creating Change Network, in partnership with The Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center at Rutgers University – Newark, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

I hope you will make the time to view the exhibit online or the Montclair Arts Museum, if you live nearby, before March 14, 2022, when it ends. But more importantly, I hope you will share the exhibit with youth to foster and encourage them to use their artistic voices to share their interests and concerns about the state of the world.

As always, I would like to know what you think. I invite you to share your comments about the exhibition, or share your efforts to engage youth through arts education.

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