To the Art of the Matter at MRHS

I had a grand ‘ol time speaking with students at Marvin Ridge High School today south of Charlotte.

Where Am I Wearing? was selected for their community reading program and a good portion of today was dedicated to exploring the subjects I write about in the book.

They kicked off the day with a screening of the documentary China Blue which follows a few factory girls at a factory in China. The film had some amazing scenes and I’m so jealous of the access the crew got into the factory. The owner of the factory was kind enough to go on camera time and time again and hang himself, saying things like, “The workers are simple-minded farmers, living 20 years behind. They aren’t smart enough to have a work ethic.” One of the main girls in the film didn’t receive a paycheck for 3 months. My only criticism of the film is that they should’ve shown the other side of these labor wrongs — the 400 million Chinese that have been lifted out of poverty by their growing economy.

My talks went well. Although my slide-show, because of a glitch on my computer, didn’t fire up properly for the first talk and I had to wing it. I don’t have trouble winging it; I can talk about this stuff all day long, slide-show or not. However, I was really hoping to expose the kids to some of the images especially of the dump. A few teachers told me that they were having trouble getting through to the students. There was a bit of “Why should we care” attitude. I don’t expect the day changed those with that attitude, but I hope that the movie, my talk, and my class visit helped chip away at that attitude. As the principal said today, “We don’t see the results of our work until many years down the road.”

Gotta love teachers and the awesome work they do. MRHS has some good ones. A special thanks to Linda Meckes and Lindsey Arant for all of their hard work.

One of the highlights of my day was visiting Mrs. B’s art class where they had done projects surrounding topics in Where Am I Wearing?. Here they are. Enjoy…

How amazing is this?!?!? It’s subject is the old farmer who hadn’t gone to Fantasy Kingdom in Bangladesh until the day I took him.

The Old Farmer

Hands of a labor leader

Made in China

Kristi Scott says:

Love the art. Teenagers are notorious for having a “who cares?” attitude but for most of them it is a facade. Young Americans are continually becoming more aware of social injustices, like international labor practices. Your book and presentation are a part of the wider movement that will lead many of those teens into conscious consumerism. Good stuff.

Great work!! All three of these are really impressive Kels!

Kelsey says:

Kristi, I agree with you. I was blown away with the global awareness of the students I met the last few weeks from middle school to college. The world is a much bigger place to them than when I was their age.

Geoff, I thought they were pretty good. Especially when I think back to my art projects in high school. I was awful.

Let your voice be heard!