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2013 Bezos Scholar Oscar Lee and educator Adam Gold to explored issues of race through their Local Ideas Festival RE:THINK HP.
Their three-day series of panel discussions and lectures that explored privilege, oppression, inequality, and more. Speakers included Loretta Ross, a feminist organizer, who spoke about her work in the 1990s on anti-Klan and anti-white supremacy organizing; Raven Rakia, a freelance journalist and filmmaker, spoke on the prison-industrial complex; Daniella Carter, Nora Hyland, and Dan Battey discussed achievement gaps; Nikole Hannah-Jones explored housing segregation and the federal government’s large-scale failure to uphold the laws meant to prevent it; and Melanye Price, a Rutgers professor, and Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker television critic, discussed race in the context of popular culture.
Along with the three-day festival, the RE:THINK HP team showcased two reflective community projects. I AM was a street style photo project of people in Highland Park. For each photo presented the photographers had a conversation about experiences with identity. Photos and reflections were showcased in an online gallery. COLOR CODES was a multimedia community forum that showcased content submitted by community members to solicit responses regarding views on race.
“Our greatest strength was our message and coherence. All our events and projects fit well with each other. It was clear we were trying to unite Highland Park and why. As a result of our panels, specifically the one on education inequality, cultural competency training has been brought up during Board of Education meetings,” reflected Oscar.