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PSJ 205: Student Work, pt. 2

Student Work, pt. 2

Children Experiencing Homelessness in America

Created by: Hue Tran

This infographic was created using Canva to incorporate facts around children experiencing homelessness with pictures and stickers. The pictures reveal the severity of homeless children in America, and the stickers are childlike to create a contrast between the daunting facts and the stereotypes of what children draw and the toys they play with. 

Children experiencing homelessness is a major issue in the US that many are not educated on. Education and furthering the conversation needs to be prioritized since many are ignorant about this problem. Some ways that the average person can help with this issue is volunteering time, money, and resources (like hygienic and school products) is the next step that can be taken to help these youth. Lasting solutions involve a whole system of issues including getting children away from abusive families, changing the foster care and adoption systems so that once children are separated from their harmful families, they are brought into stable and loving families, increasing funding for schools in poorer neighborhoods where these children can have accessibility to a good education and resources to help with their home life where they could also be taking on adult responsibilities like taking care of family members and being left unsupervised because their parents are taking on multiple jobs. Child homelessness is interrelated with many social issues, and we need to look at creating new laws and changing current policies to include children, poor families, poor neighborhoods, and hopefully reducing the number of homeless people in America.

I really wanted to hone in on the contrast between children experiencing homelessness and the idea that people have of what kids do. The facts are very sad which I emphasized by putting the statistics in red font. Many people do not know anything about child homelessness so I wanted to find facts that focused on the basis of the issue and that revolved around a number of issues including pregnancy, LGBTQ+, and criminal acts. Around the facts, I put stickers of kids' toys and child-like drawings. I did not want to take the seriousness of the issue away though, so I added three real-life photos of children experiencing homelessness. I wanted to show the severity, but I also wanted to show the irony of what children should be doing and what some people imagine all kids doing even though many do not have access to a home or a stable food source let alone toys or craft supplies. Children can become homeless for many reasons with the major reason being lack of stability at home and in the family, but after they are homeless, they have many problems to face that stem further from not having a secure home or family. They may have to become the sole caretaker of the rest of their family, they may have to drop out of school and find under-the-table jobs to pay for food, water, and temporary shelter. They may feel peer pressure and embarrassment because they cannot afford school supplies or food like the rest of their classmates or they could lack hygienic resources creating more internal shame. Depending on how desperate they are for money, they could turn to robbery, drug dealing, or the porn industry creating even more issues for these youth to face. Child homelessness is a serious problem that needs to be talked about and how deeply rooted it is in the child’s past, present, and future experiences in life. 


collage created by Katie O'Connor with images of how police are overfunded and public school systems are underfunded.

Defund the Police

created by: Katie O' Connor

My pictures for my collage were found through google searches or through articles that discussed my topic. I used Canva to create a collage of images of how police are overfunded and public school systems are underfunded. On the left, I have images of how police are overfunded, such as, such as tear gas, militarized gear, trucks, etc. On the right, there are images of how public schools are underfunded, such as outdated books and leaks in ceilings. Putting these images side by side is meant to visualize for people how public schools are struggling to teach the next generation with the amount of resources they are given, compared to the police who have gear that they do not need.

This art was created in support of the Defund the Police movement. There are misconceptions about the movement, a big one being that the movement is meant to get rid police officers as a whole. The Defund the Police movement only wants the extra tax dollars that are being wasted on police departments to go to social services that aren’t getting enough funding, such as the education system. The education system is severely underfunded, yet it is crucial in building up the next generation. I hope these images help people see the injustices that are in the system. I want people to correct those misconceptions that they might have, as well as other. I want people to stop being silent and have a voice in where they think the extra funds should be going (e.g. education, housing, etc.)

As mentioned previously, on the left side, there are images examples of how the police departments are overfunded with American citizen tax dollars, and on the right, there are images of the struggles that public schools are going through by being underfunded. There are a few images of police officers that are in the middle of protests, they are equipped with heavy gear such as machine guns, sniper rifles, tear gas, etc. These tactics are unnecessary for peaceful protests and are also unnecessary for them to use otherwise. Since 1990, police departments have received a $7.4 billion surplus of military gear due to the 1033 Program. This program allows police to apply to get militarized gear (e.g. night vision goggles, mine-resistant vehicles, military rifles) that the military no longer needs or didn’t need in the first place.

While the police are being granted military weapons, teachers are often not getting reimbursed for their classroom supplies. On average, a teacher spends $459 of their own money to fund their classes (Kenney, 2020). The images on the right are devastating. The white building pictured was meant to be a temporary building for a school located in Aurora, Colorado, that is still there 15 years later. The image of the markers on jars is an art teacher located in Tennessee that is trying to make the best of old supplies by putting used markers in these jars to create watercolors for their students(Sedgwick, 2018). All these images come together to paint a picture of how the police departments are overfunded and the extra taxpayer money should go to those in need before it goes to them.

There’s a stronger link to the police departments and the education system than taxpayers' money. People often fail to overlook the fact that better education lessons the chance that someone will commit a crime. One study published in 2008 found thatif graduation rates increased by 10 percent, there would be almost 175,000 prevented aggravated assaults and more than 3,000 prevented murders in America every year(Boatwright, 2020). This means that putting more money into the education system will lower the crime rates, therefore, the police departments would not need as much funding to fight crime. It’s pertinent to get the public to understand this issue because otherwise they are tricked by fear into thinking that the crime levels keep increasing due to there being bad people out there. What people need to know is that poor communities that didn’t get the same education opportunities as others often resort to criminal activities because they have no other means of survival.

How Many More? part 1 (video)

Created by: Chloe Soliday

How Many More? An original solo theater piece written and performed by Chloe Soliday. The piece is accompanied by a video with slides containing information from news articles and music by Shawn Mendes and Khalid. These additions are meant to enhance its emotional impact and overall message. In the United States, mass shootings have tragically become a regular occurrence. We recently passed the third anniversary of the Parkland, Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where a nineteen-year-old former student shot and killed 17 people. A youth-led movement for gun law reform took off in 2018 following the shooting. As a result, high school students met with Members of Congress to discuss possible transformations to current gun laws. Despite their efforts, proposed reform legislation was blocked by the then Republican-controlled Senate. To support the cause, you can contact your Senators and Representatives, Democrat and Republican alike, and urge them to affirm current bipartisan legislation by voting in favor of these bills when they reach the House and Senate floors. 

Chloe intended for this piece to be an expression of her passion for gun law reform in the United States. By using a combination of theater, music, photographs, and text, she hopes to creatively convey the urgency of this issue and move others to act. While creating the piece, she learned about the Atlanta spa shootings of March 16th. The script and slides were altered to reflect this latest tragedy. Theater was chosen as the primary medium as a way of harnessing the power of dramatization in movements and its potential for creating radical, transformative change. “How Many More?” was chosen as the title of the piece to challenge the audience to ask themselves why this issue persists. The song “Youth” by Shawn Mendes feat. Khalid was chosen for its message of hope and courage pertaining to young people who have survived gun violence, particularly mass shootings at schools. The slides were purposely filled with striking photos and short text outlining past mass shooting events to demonstrate the depth of the issue. 

*Click on the image above or the title of the piece to view the video. This is the first of two video pieces. The next slide links to the second video.*


How Many More? part 2 (video)

Created by: Chloe Soliday

*Click on the image above or the title of the piece to view the video. This is the second of two video pieces. Clicking on the arrow to the left of this slide takes you to the previous slide which houses the first video.*

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

Created by: Olivia Romeo

I have always admired fiber arts for their versatility. Many people believe that cross-stitch is merely cute, pretty, and quaint. I love cross-stitch because it is like painting on canvas with thread. Most people’s grandmothers probably know how to cross-stitch, and we are all familiar with cross-stitched home goods and the nostalgic phrases that are framed and hung on walls. What people don’t realize is that women, particularly in the South, have also used cross-stitch for decades to raise consciousness about social injustices. It was this history that inspired me to create this cross-stitch wall hanging.

This piece depicts the last words of six Black people in the moments before they were killed by the police. Their names are Kenneth Chamberlain, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Pamela Turner, and George Floyd. I used brightly colored embroidery thread and flower motifs to give the piece a joyful feeling, which brings attention to the horror of the words. Each one of the statements is embroidered in its own color, except for “I can’t breathe.” These were the last words of Eric Garner, and were later echoed by George Floyd as they were both slowly suffocated and murdered in the same way by the police. The words are a reminder that the problems we are experiencing now will not go away unless we take action, both on an individual and on a societal level. In this piece, the contrast between the conventional idea of the medium and the harsh reality of the content highlights the problem of police brutality in America. I hope this piece makes the audience angry about the truth of police brutality in this nation, and I hope they take that anger to advocate for police reform.

Love is Love

Created by Beaux Brown

Every day, Queer people are harassed, assaulted, and murdered for existing. From grand tragedies, like the UpStairs Lounge arson and the PULSE Nightclub shooting, to personal acts of violence, like those experienced by CeCe McDonald or Harvey Milk, Queer lives have been destroyed at the hands of bigots and the State with little consequence. This mosaic serves to honor the memory of the LGBTQ+ people who have lost their lives in hateful acts of violence. Every square of this mosaic is an image of a victim of this violence or a newspaper clipping of the perpetrator’s acquittal. The contrast between the brightness and hopeful theme of the large picture and the tragedies which the tiles comprise is an intentional decision intended to highlight the brightness of Queer lives and their all-too-common tragic endings. The barcode is intended to remind the viewer that Queer peoples are unique and individual in their identities, but together we make a beautiful whole. These people never intended to be soldiers in the fight for Queer liberation, but they lost their lives despite that. Therefore, it falls on Queer people and our allies, to honor them and finally win our liberation. These victims died for their love, we cannot forget them. Every day activists fight in the streets, courtrooms, and legislatures to prove that our identities are valid, and our love is love.

Police Brutality in America (video)

Created by Askia Mealy

This project is calling attention to the plague that police brutality is on our country. Too often, victims are demonized by the media instead of reflecting on the importance of their lives. Their lives mattered, yet their lives were cut too short by the hands of the police. The media is quick to shed a negative light on the movement and focus on the wrong aspects; they choose to highlight the aftermath of the deaths(protests, riots)but not the deaths themselves. Although they were not anticipating it, the people I have shared in this video have caused a racial re-awakening in this country. Recently, the murdering of African-Americans has started a snowball effect, gaining more and more social media attention throughout the years. The movement against police brutality is a cry for help, a declaration, and a constant reminder that more work must be done in this country. It was important to me to have an upbeat feel to this project to entice action instead of sadness. The issue is infuriating –especially considering several victims had mental health issues responsible for their behaviors during their death. My art features a medley of civil rights songs “with a twist” to give a youthful feel to the movement. Police brutality is a fight that has been ingrained in American history since its founding. We are the generation that can push legislation against allowing these murders to continue happening. Becoming aware of the problem is the first step towards change. Now, it is time to take action

*Click on the image above or the title of this piece to view the video*

This Land is Native Land (video)

Created by: Jaleah Patton

My name is Jaleah Patton and I am a 21-year-old African-American female.  Growing up, I have heard numerous stories of how African-Americans were and still are oppressed, but I haven’t been as lucky to understand how Native Americans are still being oppressed.  Last year, I heard of a story of Native Americans being arrested at Mount Rushmore and the story was so interesting that I decided to further educate myself.  Mount Rushmore, a monument celebrating US Presidents, was built on the land of the Black Hills, which are sacred to the Lakota Sioux.  In 1868 the Land was granted to the Sioux Nation, but the U.S. broke the treaty when gold was discovered on the land.  Due to this, Native Americans are still seeking justice for their land.  I decided to do a painting and a video to help further educate people on the land dispute and bring awareness to how Native Americans are being harmed.  In the video, a Native American is singing “This Land is Your Land” from a Native American perspective.  The video shows the progress of my painting along with news articles about the Black Hills land dispute.  I used acrylic paint along with number 12 and number 14 paintbrushes to paint the animals and mountains and I used a ¾ inch paintbrush to capture the sky and land.  In the painting, the Black Hills are in the background with a bull and sheep in the front center.  The bull is significant to Indigenous culture, as it represents strength and unity.  The sheep are also important to Indigenous culture, as it represents balance and harmony over the land.  I hope that this visual art can reach Americans that were just as ignorant as I was to the oppression that Native Americans are still facing in this country.  I have also included a link towards the end of the video for those who feel called to sign a petition to grant the Sioux Nation rights over their rightful land.

*Click on the image above or the title of the piece to view the video*