High Tech Middle Media Arts
Race, Equity, Advocacy and Listening – R.E.A.L. TALK

Coming off a turbulent summer where words like “race baiting”, “police brutality”, “deportation” and “muslim ban” were splashed across television screens and Facebook feeds, two teachers at a San Diego middle school wanted to figure out how to encourage courageous conversations about race and cultural divisions in their classroom. Teachers, Jamie Rojas and Jordan Templeton wanted their students to feel free to ask questions, share stories, and explore prickly racial issues without judgement, guilt or blame. The simple six word exercise at the heart of The Race Card Project helped them find a solution.

It’s called R.E.A.L. TALK. – an innovative, project based learning initiative where 7th grade students engage in problem solving, dialogue and discovery.

“How do we create a safe learning environment where every student feels that their voice is heard and important?”

Every Monday these teachers set aside time for their students to explore and discuss cultural differences.  The Race Card Project exercise provides a sturdy template to provoke provocative and inclusive discussions on empathy, tolerance, equity and assumptions. The process of exploring narratives in the TRCP’s deep and diverse archive makes it easier for students of all backgrounds to share their own stories.

That is just the start in this interdisciplinary initiative. Students examine Race, Equity, Advocacy and Listening as it relates to the fields of Mathematics, Science, Economics and the Humanities. They interview community leaders, entrepreneurs and members of The US Diplomacy Council. They conduct research on DNA and hereditary cell structure. They work with Real World Scholars and Ed Corps, to form a student-run business to create and sell merchandise designed to encourage productive dialogue around race.

We are so proud to present a collection of the stories and reports created by these amazing TRAILBLAZERS!

Read. Learn. Be impressed. I certainly am. –Michele