Susan DuFresne, a pre-school and special education specialist from Seattle, Washi., just published the book History of Institutional Racism in U.S. Public Schools. Dufresne is also a self-taught artist with a heart that screams for justice. She began her project with three 15-feet-long 4-feet-high pieces of canvas and painted images of racial injustice and its effect on schools from the 16th century until today. These illustrations are supported by the notes Susan developed about each issue depicted and hand wrote in the margins.
I met Susan at a march in 2014 at Seattle’s iconic Westgate Park, home of political expression and protest for five decades. For me, it brought back childhood memories of a 1962 trip with my parents and a sister to the Seattle World’s Fair. At Westgate Park, my family boarded the mono-rail for the fairgrounds now called the Seattle Center, still home of the Space Needle and today, home to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
That 2014 teacher’s march was the first public event organized by the Washington State Bats. We were protesting the Gates Foundation. Two motorcycle police went ahead of us closing streets to cross traffic and we happily marched toward the Seattle Center to enthusiastic cheers from locals along the route.
Last year, I met Susan again at the National Public Education (NPE) annual conference in Oakland, California. She displayed her amazing art work in the main conference room. The room was large enough to accommodate more than 1,000 people seated at round tables. Her illustrations covered most of the north wall.
I would be very surprised if Susan could pick me out of a line [Read more…]