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First Ever Teach-In at the Pratt Institute


ARNOLDI 1: In a packed auditorium, Professor Uzma Rizmi reads out a list of names…

RIZMI 1

Trayvon Benjamin Martin, February 26th 2012. Anthony Dwayne Harris, aged 38, 28th January 2013. Kayla Moore, 41, 13th February 2013. [Do you want me to take over?]

ARNOLDI 2: This is the opening of a 2 day teach-in, and the names go on for another 25 minutes. Around a hundred students, faculty, and community members listen on. These are the names of the hundreds who’ve died at the hands of law enforcement in the last three years [change]. They are the victims who inspired Black Lives Matter, a national protest movement begun in 2013.

Now, Pratt Institute is bringing together activists, intellectuals, artists and teachers for a two-day teach-in on their Brooklyn campus.

GORSLIN 1

I really want it to be more global discussion. Not just in Pratt. But when these kids leave here, to talk about it when they go home.

ARNOLDI 3: Donna Gorslin is a dean at Pratt and organized the teach-in. For Gorslin, the issues are broad and wide-ranging. Police violence, of course, but also inclusion at an institution that hasn’t always been so welcoming.  

GORSLIN 2

There are very few African-Americans on campus. We only had our first African-American woman tenured professor five or six years ago. We’re in Brooklyn, in a middle class black neighborhood, it doesn’t really make sense.

ARNOLDI 4: If Pratt isn’t exactly known for its diversity, it is recognized nationally as a school of art and design. The teach-in included artistic interpretations of Black Lives Matter. This is student Sonia De Nicolo.

ARNOLDI 1

What are we looking at here?

DE NICOLO 1

I have made white privilege bar soap. The logo itself is an angry man and angry woman’s face. The ingredients include anger, entitlement, tears, projection and denial.

ARNOLDI 5:

Adia Wingfield, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says teach-ins like this one show that race is still an issue for the younger generation.

WINGFIELD 1:

I think we may be inclined to some degree to overstate the extent and degree to which young people may be past some of the racial issues that continue to plague our country.

ARNOLDI 6:

Pratt student De Nicolo would likely agree.

DE NICOLO 3

Being silenced is the main form of control and talking about it takes that away.

ARNOLDI 7:

Pratt’s two-day teach-in, featuring workshops and lectures, wraps up tomorrow.

Oliver Arnoldi, Columbia Radio News.

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