“(Un)Final Projects”: Gottesman Library Exhibition Focuses on Court-Involved Youth

| May 11, 2015

Republished from TC Community
5/9/2015

wpid-ymej-invitation-01TC’s Youth, Multiliteracies & Educational Justice (YMEJ) seminar will launch an exhibition, “(Un)final Projects,” this Monday, May 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Gottesman Libraries’ first floor lobby.

The exhibition, created with the help of EdLab, the Gottesman’s creative services unit, marks the end of the year-long YMEJ seminar. It will remain on display through May 22nd.

Founded with a Provost’s Investment Fund grant in 2011 by faculty members Lalitha Vasudevan and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, YMEJ (@YmediaJustice | #ymej | ymej.org) provides a participatory approach to the study and support of the educational experiences of teens in foster care and juvenile justice in New York City. Students from all 10 TC academic departments have taken the seminar.

“Our work is about equity and young people who are underserved, issues that are at the core of TC’s mission,” says Vasudevan. “We’re building on the work of the Office of the Vice President for Community & Diversity, the Racial Literacy Roundtables created by Yolanda, and [Associate Professor of Education] Michelle Knight’s work on culturally relevant pedagogy. We’re trying not only to make diversity explicit, but also to call attention to the relationship between system-involved youth and their schooling and other educational experiences.”

This year, the seminar included a focus on the highly publicized events in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore and elsewhere in which black men have been killed in incidents with the police.

“We have asked why this is happening and how it connects to the lives of the young people we work with,” Vasudevan says.

As its title suggests, the exhibition is both a culmination of the year’s work and the starting point for an ongoing conversation.

“You’ll see pieces reflecting thinking about the court involvement of young people, or the changing views of how to do classroom practice,” Vasudevan says. “Or simply on what it means to be a human being who cares about court-involved youth, beyond being an educator and a researcher.

“It’s unfortunate that youth are involved with the legal system, but we’re thankful there are spaces at TC to talk about it and take action against it.”  Sealey-Ruiz notes, “We are grateful to have had the opportunity to create this space and run this class since 2012. The course explores deeply what it means to be an adult in the life of a young person connected to court systems. The alumni base for the class continues to grow, and we keep in touch with them at several points throughout the year.  We certainly look forward to seeing many of the YMEJ alum at Monday’s exhibition.”