What are the short term outcomes (qualitative and quantitative) to affect change in the community or with the students?
The ROYALS were able to work with our community partner, Educare, to create an interactive event on our campus for Denim Day. The event was open to all 2000 students on the four Cesar Chavez academies. During the event we spread information about our website, support hotlines, and the history of Denim Day. We gave out hotline information, pins, and bracelets that said “Stop the Violence” and “No Means No” and “Denim Day 2019”. We helped students create and display pieces of art expressing personal messages of support and encouragement to survivors. We also created three original skateboard designs that students could sign and personalize. We created a playlist for the event and worked with a group of student DJs from MC Lab to provide music for the event. Students and staff from all four academies participated and interacted with each other around the issue of sexual assault and sexual violence.
“The power of celebrating Denim Day at ArTES is that it gave everyone a voice and a connection to the conversation about sexual violence. They created reflective statements to consider what they can do to stop the cycle of violence and created art that they proudly wore to show their awareness and spread the message of hope for a better society, a better tomorrow. My best moment was when a male student asked “What is Denim Day?”. Once he heard the story and what we were bringing attention to, he was proud of our campus and asked what he could do to show support. Denim Day was powerful and empowering.”
- ArTES Teacher, Ms. Stefnie Evans
In addition to the Denim Day event, we will be working with the freshmen and junior advisory teachers at our school to create a week’s worth of activities at the end of May that will encourage students to examine their own ideas about gender bias, harassment, consent and what they can do to foster more respectful relationships on our campus. We worked with LaNell Williams, a motivational speaker and facilitator for ACE (the Achievement and Commitment to Excellence Program, an three-day youth empowerment seminar that ArTES’ freshmen have participated in for the last seven years) to come up with activities like “Walk-the-Line”, Sexual Harassment Four Corners, and council discussions around issues like consent and how to know if you are in a healthy relationship. We think that these activities will help to pave the way for a longer unit that other advisories will be able to integrate into their overall curriculum that the ROYALS team members will be able to facilitate.
We also hope to be able to recruit more members in this way. Because of some difficulties in scheduling, we were unable to follow through with our two-day assembly, so we decided that working with the advisories was the next best thing.
Finally, we create our royalsofccla.org website. The website was created as a source for local survivors as a space where they could easily find what they might need to get help and encouragement. We wanted to provide students in our community with words of encouragement, films, and hotline number that they would find useful. It is a resource that we want to keep building on. Our plan is to create a flyer to publicize the website in the offices of all the academies, in the nurse’s office, in local stores, laundraomats, and other strategic locations.
What will be the long term outcomes to the community?
We plan to continue adding to our website and using our Instagram to direct survivors and their allies to resources in our community when they need support. We also hope that the activities that the freshmen and juniors participate in will help open their minds to what it means to give consent and to examine the ways that gender bias informs their relationships. We want ArTES to be a place where all students can feel safe and comfortable, no matter what their gender and we want survivors to know that we value their experiences and that we support them. We believe that if we raise our voices together, we can bring attention to the issues that survivors face in our community. Our goal is to encourage students to be Upstanders in the community around issues of sexual assault, harassment, and bias. Ultimately we hope to be able to bring our message to middle schools in our community as well.
ROYALS member: Student, Abigail O. – “All victims need support. In our community we have a lot of little events that support the police or the fire department, and members of our community like to participate. I think that people in our community have the potential to really get behind this idea when it comes to supporting those who need us. We can encourage younger students to get involved and educate people on what to do if the situation arises. The event on Denim Day really was eye-opening for a lot of people. It showed that our school’s community can be a solid support group. We have a system in place for people who have suffered from sexual assault and that is important.”
ROYALS member: Student, Stephanie A. – “We want to keep awareness going and we want to get into our community. If we were to talk about the issue of sexual assault and give resources, people who have experienced this would feel supported. They have someone to rely on, and they might feel more comfortable to tell their stories. It’s important that people feel comfortable speaking up.”
Our community partners: We worked most closely with Educare and they were able to support us in working with the principals of the other schools on our campus to help engage their students to be a part of Denim Day. We also reached out to Strength United for some ideas of what to add to our website.
“Denim day was impactful due to our group of students who decided to take action in advocating against physical and emotional assault. Hundreds of students gained a stronger understanding of what Denim Day represents.”
— Educare Site Coordinator, Ruben Olmos
Our mentors: We used the help of our graphic design teacher and film teacher who helped us with printing out the posters and who supplied us with the technical equipment we needed to make and edit the film.
“The ROYALS team worked hard to learn the basic of Photoshop to create their flyers for Denim Day as well to put together their film. They are a really hard-working group of students who are trying to bring awareness to an important topic that so many people find difficult to discuss. Because of them, our school is light years ahead many other schools on this issue.”
— ArTES Multimedia Teacher, Mr. Massey