Show Racism The Red Card (Southern Region) and The Evolvolution Initiative delivered a virtual and international cultural workshop between Highgate Wood School located in London, England and Bedford Academy located in Brooklyn, New York. The workshop provided an educational platform for spirited and productive dialogue and cultural exchange between a diverse group of youth in the United Kingdom and The United States.
The workshop included inspired debates and discussion between the cross cultural exchange with views shared from different perspectives and national backgrounds, particularly around use of the ‘N’ word as well as sessions explaining examples of microaggressions and more.
Events on the day also featured a viewing of the recently released documentary “The Evolvolution Initiative” (Supernatural INC Films). The documentary centres around a School within the United Kingdom who expressed concerns about some of their white students’ casual and constant use of the “N-word ” around campus and in the classroom. Virtually from New York City to England, The Evolvolution Initiative delivered a powerful lesson and experience to the students. The lesson (referred to as “The Culture Shock ” Experience) addressed the use and history of the “N-Word ” and promotes “Respect of Culture ” through artistic visuals, music, genuine dialogue and heartfelt cultural exchange. The documentary was nominated for Best Film Short at the 2021 London Short Film Festival and was a finalist for Best Film at the 2022 New York International Film Festival.
Footage captured from the most recent workshop from Highgate Wood and Bedford Academy will be featured in a sequel to the documentary debuting in Spring 2023.
The goal of the program is to further develop youth into thoughtful and responsible global citizens and leaders via productive dialogue and innovative educational learning. This exchange from across the UK and USA is hoped to be just the beginning, with plans for the programme to expand across the globe!
“The Evolvolution Initiative’s focus is to establish genuine and constructive dialogue about culture and current events as it relates to the world with Students (age range from 14 – 17) from Highgate Wood (UK) and Bedford Academy (NY-US). The goal is to display commonalities as well as the differences as it relates culture, viewpoints, issues and solutions in a structured learning environment of which positive outcomes would be achieved. The students showed high levels of interest and excitement throughout the workshop and presented interesting thoughts on the usage of the N-Word.
We are not approaching the initial workshop as a singular “event”, but as a pilot and ongoing programme that will continually expand within school systems internationally. A follow up session will take place in December 2022. Footage from both sessions will be featured in the self-titled documentary “The Evolvolution Initiative 2” (Scheduled for release Spring 2023) of which Show Racism The Red Card is featured, courtesy of Supernatural INC.” – Janol Mecca Holmes, Co-Founder of the Evolvolution Initiative.
Over the past couple of years the Southern Region of SRtRC has worked closely with Janol Holmes of the Evolvolution initiative, mostly on education projects with schools here in the UK. The next logical step was to link UK schools with those in the USA and facilitate exchange between students in London and New York. By immersing ourselves in other cultures beyond our own, we can learn about each other—where people came from, what their traditions are, and what they struggle with as a community. It also forces us to criticize assumptions held about our own daily life and practices, encouraging incredible personal growth.
International partnerships provide students with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of different cultures, traditions, lifestyles and global issues. They can help pupils to better understand the world they live in, and to break down any preconceptions.
Collaborative learning has been shown to not only develop higher-level thinking skills in students, but boost their confidence and self-esteem as well. Group projects can maximize educational experience by demonstrating the material, while improving social and interpersonal skills, all of which will help young people succeed throughout their adult lives and to be responsible citizens of the World.
The project has been developed over the past 18 months during which time a number of successful pilots were delivered, an award winning documentary film produced, all helping to gain traction with schools in the UK, USA and Africa in wanting to be part of this exciting initiative. The actual relationship with Janol Holmes goes back several years where the Supernatural Inc organisation founded by Chuck D approached SRtRC to offer the charity a number of impactful music videos to help promote the cause, many of which are still used within the education work of the Southern Region Education team. The Pandemic brought with it many challenges to us all but the Evolvolution / SRtRC overcame these by going digital and on-line at a time when schools were struggling to provide meaningful education to children, many of whom were forced to stay home. We are hoping that external sponsorship can be sourced to expand the programme and include other countries. – Steve Goodsell, Southern Region Manager, SRtRC.