Delaware Art Museum and Network Delaware Present – For Freedoms Town Hall: Restorative Schools Issue Campaign

Artists, activists, and community members discuss lessening the impact of school-to-prison pipeline in Delaware.

WILMINGTON, DE (Sept. 17, 2018) – Wednesday, September 26, 2018, at Kingswood Community Center (5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.), renowned conceptual artist and For Freedoms co-founder, Hank Willis Thomas, will moderate a community-centered conversation about the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Recognizing the function of art in activism, the Delaware Art Museum partners with Network Delaware and For Freedoms (the first artist-run super PAC) to support a discussion about this topic via a community-wide Town Hall. The Museum and Network Delaware have assembled panelists comprising community residents, organizers, practitioners, and scholars well-versed in civil rights, racial and social justice, law, and youth advocacy. Together, the community is encouraged to articulate and participate in finding solutions to this critical issue which disproportionately impacts students of color with greater instances of suspension, expulsion, and contact with law enforcement in school settings.

“The Delaware Art Museum consistently seeks to bring people together through art in ways that are relevant to their experience and timely for this moment in history. As a cultural institution that introduces young children to art through our relationship with their schools, we are fortunate to see the potential in these young artists and scholars firsthand,” says Sam Sweet, Executive Director and CEO. “We are grateful to Delaware Humanities for funding our efforts to support these important multi-faceted community conversations through the arts.” Media outlets are invited to livestream this event to foster greater opportunities for community participation.

Using art as a means to examine civic issues, the Museum strives to be a vital hub where community members come together on equal terms to engage in cultural and civic discourse. Our programs provide a safe platform for conversation and are open to everyone and all viewpoints. This collaborative presentation will be moderated by artist and For Freedoms co-founder, Hank Willis Thomas, to create a rich discussion with community members on critical issue. The Town Hall will also discuss “restorative justice” concepts and facilitate a dialogue around how it may be applied to Delaware schools. Restorative Justice is a process where victims, offenders, and the community work together to mediate a restitution that, ideally, allows for real rehabilitation and accountability. This approach has shown to yield the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability according to University of Pennsylvania Study (http://www.iirp.edu/pdf/RJ_full_report.pdf).

Community Panelists

  • Dr. Adriana Bohm, vice-president of Red Clay School Board and associate professor of sociology at Delaware County Community College
  • Bebe Coker, board member of Metropolitan Urban League, retired teacher, community activist
  • Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, prior State Board of Education President and active participant in the Delaware State Parent-Teacher Association
  • Shannon Griffin, community organizer at ACLU-DE, worked on draft and lobbied for the passage of SB 85 – School Discipline Reform Bill
  • Devon Hynson, educational advocate, served as the Executive Director & Senior Student Advocate for Delaware’s Education Voices, Inc.
  • Cindy McDaniel, coordinator of the School Offense Diversion Program at the Delaware Center for Justice, Inc.”

Moderator

  • Hank Willis Thomas, artist, social activist, and For Freedoms Co-Founder. Thomas is an internationally renowned visual artist often choosing subjects which make timely statements about social justice issues. For example, he is the exhibiting artist of the Delaware Art Museum’s commissioned exhibition of Black Survival Guide: or How to Live Through a Police Riot which challenges the public’s perception of the events in Wilmington, Delaware in 1968. Thomas’ 2016 Afro pick sculpture titled All Power to All People was temporarily installed across from Philadelphia’s City Hall in the Thomas Paine Plaza across from a controversial statue of former mayor Frank Rizzo whose public service was marred by controversial racial tensions. In 2017, Thomas was one of the artists selected to create artwork for the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. This is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color affected by police violence.

Partners

  • Network Delaware “leverages citizen-led community empowerment, research analysis, and leadership development to enact lasting socioeconomic change.” Network Delaware’s focus on the school-to-prison pipeline brings many educational resources and the ability to sustain long-term action.
  • For Freedoms, founded in 2016, is the first artist-run super PAC (independent political action committee) that seeks to encourage and support “civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the United States.” For Freedoms co-founder Hank Willis Thomas, will moderate the Town Hall Discussion.
  • For over 100 years, Delaware Art Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. It is bearing fruit. In 2017, attendance exceeded 80,000 (the most in a decade!) and we served 29,267 youth and adults through a wide range of programs and events. Visit delart.org for more information.

For more information about the For Freedoms Town Hall or to schedule interviews, contact Ti Hall: 302-351-8558.

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