How do we define equity? How do we measure equity? How can we affect change? Here are seven takeaways from their conversation.
Writer and visual artist Melissa Melero-Moose talks about fostering creativity during the pandemic on the Reno-Sparks Indian colony in Hungry Valley, NV. Eric Hemenway, director of the Department of Repatriation, Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, explains how storytelling can uncover misrepresentations about Native communities.
L. Danyetta Najoli, co-founder of The Black American Tree Project, explains how the immersive story-telling project’s design evokes a sense of reckoning with slavery’s origins. Dr. Jack Tchen, the Inaugural Clement A. Price Chair in Public History and the Humanities and Director of the Price Institute at Rutgers University, takes a deep dive into histories of dispossession.
Jenny De Groot, a children’s librarian on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, reads some of her favorite books while sharing how her remote community found ways to connect during the pandemic. Dr. Chuck Fluharty, founder, President, and CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), explores the future of rural and urban communities through a public humanities lens.
Adrienne Kennedy, a climate activist and organizer from south Lumberton, North Carolina, talks about what environmental justice looks like for her after Hurricane Matthew destroyed her home. Dr. Joseph Campana, director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Rice University, explores ways the humanities can help us process relentless patterns of climate catastrophe.
In the summer of 2020, Kristina Moe was preparing to open Water/Ways, a Smithsonian travelling exhibit and one of the first North Carolina Humanities “Watershed Moments” events of the year, at the Macon County Public Library where she works as a reference assistant. “To be honest, I was very nervous,” Moe recalled.
Carol Ann Carl, a storyteller from Pohnpei Island in the Federated States of Micronesia, talks about how she uses poetry to advocate for historically marginalized communities, and two-term US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey describes how poetry can articulate acts of civic engagement.
Poet, writer, and physician Dr. Rafael Campo reads his poem “The Doctor’s Song” and talks about the healing power of the humanities. Dr. Gioia Woods, a professor in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies at Northern Arizona University, unpacks The Pandemic Stories Project, a reading, discussion, and oral history program she created to document the impact of COVID-19 in her rural community.
Teaching, learning, listening, and reflecting–this is just a snapshot of the work humanities councils are doing this month and all year long.
Grounding ourselves in civic history means embracing generations of community. This doesn’t mean that we must all agree, but instead that we listen to one another across the different places, lived experiences, and rich cultures that make up our nation.
From natural resources to time-honored American traditions, humanities councils tend to the spaces and structures that support and define our nation.
Where we are affects what we do, and that relationship extends to civic participation across the nation. From a rural island off the mainland of Amerika Samoa to Philadelphia, a city at the center of national news during the last election cycle, that environment will motivate people’s civic investment in different ways.