Changing the Narrative About Youth of Color in Atlanta

Posted May 24, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog changingthenarrative 2017

Fahamu Pecou for (ad)Vantage Point

In part­ner­ship with Atlanta Pub­lic Schools, the May­nard Jack­son Youth Foun­da­tion and Won­der­Root, the Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site has launched (ad)Vantage Point — a pro­gram devel­oped by local artist Fahamu Pecou to pro­vide young men of col­or from May­nard Jack­son High School with an oppor­tu­ni­ty to share their expe­ri­ences and per­spec­tives using art.

Pecou and sev­er­al guest artists and schol­ars have spent the past six weeks guid­ing stu­dents through immer­sive work­shops to build their skills in cre­ative writ­ing, visu­al art, pho­tog­ra­phy, film and music. Using what they’ve learned, the stu­dents have begun devel­op­ing their own projects, which they will have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to present to fam­i­ly, friends and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers in June.

(ad)Vantage Point is designed to expose stu­dents of col­or to the pow­er of sto­ry­telling — in all its many forms — so they can take con­trol of the nar­ra­tives that sur­round them,” said Pecou. I was inspired to col­lab­o­rate on this project because the con­cept of re-author­ing nar­ra­tives around black mas­culin­i­ty is cen­tral to my own work. My goal is to assist my stu­dents with dis­cov­er­ing their voice and to see the beau­ty, val­ue and pow­er of their experiences.”

Won­der­Root, an arts orga­ni­za­tion work­ing to improve the cul­tur­al and social land­scape of Atlanta, hosts the pro­gram at its offices. Co-founder Chris Apple­ton is also a mem­ber of the Boys and Men of Col­or Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Col­lab­o­ra­tion Cir­cle, a lead­er­ship pro­gram which Casey sup­ports along with the Foun­da­tion Cen­ter South.

This is part of a broad­er move­ment to sup­port our young men of col­or,” said Kweku Forstall, direc­tor of the Atlanta Civic Site. These stu­dents encounter some pret­ty tough stereo­types day to day, and our hope is that this pro­gram is allow­ing them to devel­op a more pos­i­tive, authen­tic image of them­selves and others.”

Oth­er artists and edu­ca­tors con­tribut­ing to the pro­gram include co-instruc­tor Adri­enne Williams, poet Jon Goode, writ­ers Stephane Dunn and Calaya Stall­worth, pho­tog­ra­phers Sheila Pree Bright and Michael Reese, visu­al artist Shanequa Gay, film pro­duc­er Tory Edwards and music pro­duc­er Bryan-Michael Cox.

Read more about Fahamu Pecou

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