Garden-Palooza at Harlem Grown (2015)

Program: Gural Scholars
Class of: 2018

The first-year Scholars created a one-day workshop series with Harlem Grown, a nonprofit organization that inspires youth to live healthy lives. This workshop series offered kids explore different avenues of creativity while helping them discover their social justice passions by having fun, learning new skills, and thinking critically. Scholars invited other students from The New School who were knowledgeable and passionate about different activities and issues to lead the workshops. The event consisted of four different stations: fashion design, zine-making, acting, and cooking (which, because of logistical issues, turned into a smoothie-making station). The Revolution Will Not Be Funded by INCITE! was particularly eye-opening and helpful for the Scholars in thinking about their project because it revealed a lot of the problems that can come out of doing social justice work, particularly within the nonprofit system. It inspired them to be extremely conscious of the project that we undertook. The praxis session visit to the Sadie Nash Leadership Project was also incredibly beneficial in helping Scholars identify the explicit goals of the project and create a timeline in order to successfully implement it. The project illuminated how the difficulties of implementing and planning social work social justice work. Readings and praxis sessions from the semester’s course showed that while we may go into social justice/activist projects with the intention of making positive change and challenging systems of oppressions, problematic behaviors, power dynamics, etc. will almost inevitably arise because of how deeply ingrained these very systems are in us. The project demonstrated to Scholars that you have to be very intentional about the work you do and be aware of how you’re doing it. The project also highlighted the necessity of constantly checking your privilege, especially when you are interacting with others under the umbrella of social justice work.