Charter school group hosts diversity celebration
by Mark Garzon
Mar 07, 2017 | 3425 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The NYC Coalition of Community Charter Schools hosted a daylong celebration of diversity at the Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights.

Several community-based advocacy organizations were present to host workshops promoting inclusiveness, health, education, immigration advocacy, civil rights and art.

“We wanted this to be a celebration of all the things that makes Queens such a fantastic place to be,” said coalition director Steven Zimmerman.

Zimmerman explained the workshops reflected the community’s history of diversity, as well as their recent concerns regarding issues such as immigration and civil rights.

“It’s a way for us to get together as a community to show solidarity and basically try to stay positive in a difficult time,” he said.

Throughout the day, participants of all ages engaged in various activities that echoed local and national concerns.

Several students spent the day painting a mural featuring people of different backgrounds and leaders they believed reflected unity and equality, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama.

“Everyone seemed to be strong on depicting diversity and also try to bring forth the idea of democracy and equality,” said Robert Evangelista, an art teacher at the Renaissance Charter School.

Evangelista explained his students often discussed these ideas in class and their concerns echoed those of the community.

“They feel very strongly about this,” he said.

In a similar manner, an anti-violence workshop hosted by the Center for Anti-Violence Education reflected the increase in hate crimes and confrontation, as participants learned how to deescalate violent situations.

Instructor Velvet Kensington explained workshops such as these were more important than ever to inform and protect others.

“A lot of people often don’t know what to do, so having somebody who knows what to do is important,” she said.
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