The voice of De Anza since 1967.

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The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

    Speakers, workshops inspire students

    LABELS+-+Veronica+Neal+facilitates+workshop+for+high+school+students.
    Dorothy Holford/LA VOZ WEEKLY
    LABELS – Veronica Neal facilitates workshop for high school students.

    Having Japanese and Mexican parents impacted how Aiko Shirakawa was perceived and treated by others. Her hair, eyes and last name prompted other children to ostracize her at school and in her neighborhood in East San Jose.
    Now Shirakawa is an artist, promoter, teacher, youth advocate and celebrated hip-hop artist. She was the keynote speaker at the conference Youth Voices United for Change, where this year’s theme was “empowerment, expression and change through the arts.”
    The purpose of the conference was to urge participants to celebrate their unique qualities, find their gifts or talents and use them to affect change in the world. Shirakawa and others encouraged high schoolers to be respectful to their fellow citizens, suggesting that positive change takes place one person at a time.
    “Today was so important, not only for youth, but for the future of the U.S, for California and for the Bay Area,” Shirakawa said. “It made me feel hopeful, especially for the youth, who don’t have a lot of hope right now. After seeing so many faces here, I’m really proud to be a presenter.”
    De Anza President Brian Murphy challenged the youth to “never give up on yourselves or your community.”
    In the workshop “Heart to Heart: Art and Compassion Tag” students learned about stereotypes by playing The Label Game, facilitated by director of De Anza’s Social Justice and Multicultural Education program, Veronica Neal.
    Euphrat director Diana Argabrite along with artist and teacher Lydia Sanchez facilitated the hands-on art portion.
    The students first looked at photos on the walls of the museum and wrote what they thought of the people in the photos. Words like homeless, drunk and welfare mom came up along with “pig” referring to a picture of a policeman. Neal later read the words and told the students the real story behind the people in each picture. In most cases, the students had unfairly stereotyped the subject.
    Students then made “art and compassion tags,” which were oversized price tags with values like compassion, respect and empathy.
    “Students have learned about stereotypes and discrimination and experience empathy first hand after they’ve put themselves in the shoes of another person who is victim to such labels,” Neal said.
     

    PRICE TAGS – High school students take a hands-on art workshop about stereotypes. (Dorothy Holford/LA VOZ WEEKLY)

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