The facilitator/teacher in me wouldn't be denied so I put together a quick activity that offered the opportunity for both interaction among those attending and an example of how our community history might be shared. I pointed out a typo - Mr. Owen was a singular man.
The directions: Take a minute to look at the entities on the grid. Identify the ones you know and can identify well enough that you could share facts about them with another person. If someone asks you about them write your name in that square; you could not sign off on your own sheet. The point was to see how many squares you could fill. The group was alloted 5 minutes. Scurry, question, smile, laugh, scurry, scurry, "oh", scurry. Time.
Food for thought: Because of the brevity of time for the activity, there were groups who have a history here that were not included. What groups might that be? How might that be worked into a post activity discussion? How might this be shared with the community? How might this translate in the classroom?
The room was filled with a group that reflected the make up of our community. Bill Creim, Program Chair, shared that all of us have a need to know who we are as individuals and that we desire to have knowledge of where we came from. Indiana or Italy, Michoacan or Michigan, Minsk or Montana: our family's experiences contribute to who we are.
Someone shared that students they'd been working with wanted to have a Mix It Up Day - one where folks learned about each other's background. I couldn't help but think of the following - "Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures" - Cesar Chavez. I think the folks at the meeting yesterday would agree.