Twenty Mount Desert Island (ME) and Bronx Academy of Letters (NY) students met for five days at MDI High School and worked on a powerful project about hate language in their schools andcommunities. They have a four-year commitment to the partnership and will meet next year in the Bronx to continue this work. After this experience, one student commented, “Speak up, speak out,and be heard. Don’t let your confidence waver when you’re talking about your values.”
Searsport District High School and East Boston High School, a new partnership, just completed an exchange in Boston where both groups expanded their understanding of “difference” and theharm that can be done when we arbitrarily assign stereotypes to individuals. Students discussed questions such as “what are the cliques in your school” and “how are males and females treated in our school?”
The School for Democracy and Leadership in Brooklyn, NY, and Lewiston High School in Maine continued their partnership with a five-day exchange this spring in Lewiston. They explored the South African concept of “ubuntu” and what it means to be 100% present in your daily life. They worked with mime Karen Montanaro and the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center to move outside their comfort zones and think about how stereotypes are created. These thirty students will continue their connection next year in Brooklyn as they work together on social justice issues that divide our world.
Operation Breaking Stereotypes works within Maine!
What’s new and exciting is a project that pairs groups right here in Maine. Operation Breaking Stereotypes has connected Hispanic and Caucasian students from Narraguagus High School who have met at Mano en Mano in Milbridge, ME. This is one of the most inspiring ‘exchanges’ we’ve done. The greater Milbridge community is fortunate to have more diversity than many areas in Maine, but because it is natural for us to stay close to our own groups , the Hispanic and Caucasian students interacted minimally at school and in the community. Without a bus trip to carry these students out of their comfort zones, it is a challenge to break them out of their own groups to reach out and connect. Generously supported by the Broad Reach Foundation, this work will continue next year as the OBS group moves it meeting spot to Narraguagus High School.
Operation Breaking Stereotypes Receives Maine Community Foundation Grant from the Androscoggin Fund
Operation Breaking Stereotypes recently received a $3,000. grant from the Androscoggin Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to support Lewiston High School (ME) students and their OBS partners from the School for Democracy and Leadership in Brooklyn, NY, to work with Americans Who Tell the Truth during the 2013 – 2014 school year. This grant will allow OBS students to connect with artist Robert Shetterly and some of the Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait subjects as they explore social justice issues that impact their communities.