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Top Left Corner #34: The Prejudice We Deny, the Racism that Kills

Part 2 of our series, “The Shattered Shield” examines the way institutionalized racism subtly, sometimes subconsciously, guides official action leading to dire consequences.

Tracey Benson, former principal of Pittsfield High School (still image from interview by We Are Pittsfield). Perspectives on racism were not discussed in that interview.
Tracey Benson, former principal of Pittsfield High School (still image from video interview by We Are Pittsfield).

Today is Sunday, September 11, 2016. I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and I do thank you for tuning in to Episode 35 of the Top Left Corner.

This installment of the show features a tragic continuation of a conversation that I had with Tracey Benson, who was first a guest on this show in April of 2015 in advance of his MCLA appearance with Veronica Benavides. That public discussion revealed the outcome of their case study, “Letters from Ferguson: A Community’s Response to Race and Racism.”

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Art and Poetry Celebration and Book Launch with Drury High School Students

Ninth grade students from teacher Melissa Cairn’s English class at Drury High School will celebrate the publication of a book of their original poetry, created in response to a visit to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA.

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Eighty-five ninth grade students from Drury High School visited the Clark Art Institute on March 29, 2015 and wrote original poetry based on a painting that they chose from the museum’s collection. The visit to the Clark was part of teacher Melissa Cairn’s “Art and Poetry” curriculum unit that helps students in her ninth grade English class make connections between the written and visual arts, building important critical thinking, communication and literacy skills.

During the visit to the Clark students explored paintings with Clark Education staff and docents and took part in dynamic poetry writing exercises with their teacher. After these exercises and conversations each student chose a painting they were inspired by and began the creative process of writing an original poem. Back in the classroom they built on their experiences with art and poetry and distilled their thoughts into a short essay exploring the connections between their poem and painting.

The book “Writing on the Devil’s Walls” presents the students’ work – the art work they chose, and the poem and essay they wrote – in published form. The book and its launch on May 4 celebrate the creativity and hard work of the students and the inspired teaching of Melissa Cairns, their teacher. The May 4 book launch celebration will include food, music and poetry reading, copies of the book, and screening of a video produced by Joanne Hurlbut at Northern Berkshire Community Television (NBCTC) that describes the Art and Poetry unit and making of the book.

The museum visit, publication and celebration were produced and supported by a collaboration of Drury High School, The Clark Art Institute, and the Art Museum Partnership for Education, Inc. (AMPED), a non-profit partnership of the Clark, MASS MoCA and the Williams College Museum of Art that aims to produce unique learning opportunities around the arts for secondary school students.

The Top Left Corner #27: iBerkshires Featured on WGBY’s “Connecting Point”

PLUS Pittsfield Skate Park Sessions While School Is in Session?

Tammy Daniels, managing editor of iBerkshires.com joins TLC to talk about the some exciting news concerning Massachusetts’ (probable) oldest online-only newspaper. WGBY will feature the Berkshires’ extremely popular source for information on “Connecting Point” in the near future.

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Will Call #33 — Fall Festival of Shakespeare Brings that Naughty Thane to Greylock

The three Thanes of Cawdor in Mt. Greylock Regional School's production of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" during this year's Fall Festival of Shakespeare; photo by Brittney Holland.
The three Thanes of Cawdor in Mt. Greylock Regional School's production of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" during this year's Fall Festival of Shakespeare; photo by Brittney Holland.
The three Thanes of Cawdor in Mt. Greylock Regional School's production of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" during this year's Fall Festival of Shakespeare; photo by Brittney Holland.
The three Thanes of Cawdor, left to right, are Jasper Rosenheim, Noah Savage, and Luc Park in Mt. Greylock Regional School’s production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” during this year’s Fall Festival of Shakespeare; photo by Brittney Holland.

We speak with Josh Aaron McCabe and Ally Allen of the Shakespeare & Company Education Department, as well as Luc Park, senior at Mt. Greylock Regional School, who will be playing one of three Macbeths in William Shakespeare’s eponymous tragedy.

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