How is change made in society? Who should make change–and for whom?
The Orange Band is certainly up to the task of answering these questions!
Throughout the Cloth Arc, the Orange Band has explored the many stories that cloth tells. We have examined the implications of gender conformity in clothing choices and options; we have looked at the history embedded in cloth arts such as sewing, knitting, weaving, and quilting. Dress codes, beauty standards – or the lack thereof – came up often in our discussions, readings, and research. We also began to touch on the symbolisms of power and politics that cloth can carry, dependent upon the symbols worn, choices made, and the individuals wearing them.
The Orange Band’s current shared novel, One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia, takes place in Oakland, California, in the year 1968. The three sisters who travel across country from Brooklyn to the Bay Area encounter diversity, social justice movements, fashion as political statement, and, of course, the Black Panther Party.
Before we began the book, kiddos had an opportunity to learn about the historical context of the post-Civil Rights Era in the United States. We watched the Power! (1966-1968) episode from the award-winning documentary Eyes on the Prize. It was fascinating to discuss the differences — and similarities — between how race, systems of power and oppression, and community protest and response were handled sixty years ago, and today. We learned of the formation of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, and the country’s response to the Party’s imagery, community programs, and messages for social and economic change.
Orange Banders used the Black Panther Party’s Ten Point Program, reflecting the needs of the communities the Black Panther Party advocated for and worked to support with free breakfast programs for children, health services, adult education, free clothing programs, to name a few.
And what did the Orange Band kiddos see as changes that need to happen – that must happen – in our communities? Their ten point programs quickly became multi-point programs, reflecting the depth and sensitivity that make this group of students so very special. At the least (and most), these Multi-Point Programs reflect the urgency for change, equity, and love that lives deeply in each member of the Orange Band.
Sadie’s Twelve Point Program:
- We want all children to have a say in their education.
- We want all poachers to stop hunting endangered animals.
- We want all animal testing to stop.
- Everyone has good health care.
- We want people to have good food and clean water.
- Everyone gets a good job with good payment.
- People have good housing and nice shelter.
- Women have the right to take birth control.
- Kids need to have one hour of exercise.
- Everyone gets the tools they need to fill their curiosity.
- All is welcome in the world.
- We want everyone to get off their phones.
- We want freedom.
- We want life.
- We want food.
- We want shelter.
- We want respect.
- We want love!
- We want peace!
- No more littering.
- Give to the homeless.
- More change!
My Ten Point Program, by Soleil Warner:
- I want animal justice, freedom for animals to be respected and taken care of.
- I want rights for people of color.
- I want free health care for all in need.
- I want all to have a roof over their head.
- I want all animals to stop being hurt by poachers.
- I want all animals to live freely in their correct habitat.
- I want rights for nature and the environment and for there to be less global warming and littering.
- I want women’s rights. All women should be treated the same as everyone else.
- Cops should be more nice to people of color.
- I want all families to get free…health care, food, water, for the families that need it.
- I want more money to get paid to the teachers.