Story of the Project:
- Do you know what to say if a police stops you in the street and asks to search your things?
- Do parents have the right to a translator at public schools in California?
- Do undocumented workers have the same rights to workers' compensation and overtime as documented immigrants and citizens?
- Should you ever tell the police your immigration status?
These are a few of the many questions that 11th grade students at Oakland International High School have been asking about their rights in the United States. What is my right to education? My right to interact with police? My right to remain in the country? My right to a fair wage and treatment at work? My right to participate in elections? What do these rights look like for a citizen? For a documented immigrant? For an undocumented immigrant? As a part of an interdisciplinary project-based Know Your Rights unit in their Reading class with teacher Aly Kronick and Digital Media Arts class with Mallory Moser, students investigated the nuances of our rights in the United States.
After becoming experts in their rights, the students designed posters as tools to spread the knowledge. The students planned to disseminate the posters and wallet guides to their communities - mosques, churches, community centers, bus stops, schools and corner stores - that teach their neighbors, family and friends how to protect and defend their right to remain in the United States, right to education, right to fair wage and fair treatment at work, right to participate in elections, right to interact with police, and their right to free speech and assembly. Each student printed two posters - one to put up with classmates around North Oakland, and another to put up in their own communities all over Oakland. Beyond these posters, tens of community organizations and schools, from Oakland to Brooklyn, requested more posters and postcards to distribute in their community.
How did this all happen? The posters and postcards are a result of something that was brewing even before the election results. The 11th grade students at OIHS began learning about their rights in their Reading Class in October where they studied, discussed and acted out different elements of their rights, living as documented and undocumented immigrants in Oakland, California. They studied what situations may occur in which they must defend their rights and what to say in order to protect their rights.
After the students analyzed the most effective ways to communicate their knowledge and educate their community, they began taking their new knowledge and information and applied it to the design of posters and postcards in their Digital Media Arts class. Each poster and postcard includes three different parts of a right, how to respond when that right is at stake and images that bring the right to life, in both English and their native languages.