I read a really interesting post today about how students at Oakland International High School (enrollment 300) are gaining publicity for their annual publication of graphic novels/comics depicting and describing their immigration stories. Teacher Thi Bui has been having her ninth and tenth grade students–mostly API youth–write and illustrate their personal and family experiences in immigrating to the United States. These get published, and Bui even sells some of her own works. It’s a great article that can be found here.
Reading about how youth in the community are being empowered by this process of artistic expression is inspiring. The healing that takes place throughout their personal journeys in documenting their experiences has helped many students already. Think of what this would do if more schools adopted such methods for immigrant or multicultural youth: we would not only be giving voice to our communities but also educating others about real experiences and new perspectives. Great stuff that truly makes the personal political.
Jillian Toda is an Oregonian from the Columbia River Gorge, where her great grandparents farmed upon arriving to America from Japan. She is currently a student at Willamette University majoring in Rhetoric and Media Studies, with a minor in American Ethnic Studies. In her spare time, she’s an MBA candidate at Atkinson Graduate School of Management.