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McCasey Explores White Racial Literacy in TAG Quarterly

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Apr 07, 2017

Writing in the latest issue of the Teaching Artists Guild Quarterly, Indi McCasey, director of creative learning at Destiny Arts Center, discussed the White Arts Educators for Racial Justice (WERJ) group based in Oakland, CA. The group of teaching artists, classroom teachers, and administrators from the Bay Area meet to discuss readings on racial justice, explore what it means to be white and work with communities of color, and engage in activities related to identity, race, and privilege.

According to the group’s website, they “believe it is important that we (white people) take responsibility for this education ourselves, so that our colleagues of color are not put into positions where they have to educate us (white people) about racism and oppression.”

The collective has used art-making as a central component of the learning process. According to the article, “In one group Todd Berman, Director of the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area, used an activity he had taught with justice involved youth called Behind the Mask. He had the small cluster of educators draw a portrait of themselves as others see them. On the reverse side of their drawings, they included the aspects of themselves that other people couldn’t see…”

Indi McCasey was a co-facilitator at the Guild’s 2016 Conference for a session entitled “White Arts Educators for Racial Justice.” That session ran concurrently with a conversation facilitated by the Guild ALAANA Network, which supports people of color working in the arts.

You can learn more about WERJ and read the rest of the TAG quarterly issue here.

About Destiny Arts Center

Destiny Arts Center exists to end isolation, prejudice and violence in the lives of young people ages 3 to 18. We accomplish this mission by providing financially accessible dance, theater, martial arts, violence prevention and youth leadership classes taught by professional instructors in schools and after-school at our center, schools and community centers. We recruit and train at-risk youth primarily from low and moderate income Oakland and East Bay communities using kinetic movement and embodied exercises that teach confidence and self-awareness. We provide young people with trained and caring adult mentors, and support youth to develop an individualized sense of artistic expression. We create opportunities for youth to share a message of peace and empowerment and nurture the physical, emotional and spiritual development of young people in a safe, inclusive environment.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.