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We, Too, Are America

On December 3rd, TATIP reconvened for Day 5 of the training. However, this wasn't our usual training. We traveled uptown to the heart of Harlem and spent the day discussing and practicing what it means to teach for social justice in the brownstone that the poet Langston Hughes once inhabited.

We had the pleasure of being the first artist collective to rent and use the space all thanks to former TATIP Facilitator Renée Watson and her new nonprofit I, Too, Arts Collective. A special thanks also goes to her assistant Kendolyn Walker, who made the day possible.

The name I, Too, Arts Collective comes from the Langston Hughes poem "I, Too".

I, Too

by Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967 I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen," Then. Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed— I, too, am America.

We feel so honored to be the first group to work in this house through I, Too, Arts Collective and we look forward to many years of creating together.

After hearing Renée talk about the house and nonprofit, we set to work on the day's agenda, beginning with an opening led by facilitator Heidi Miller. She led us through an inquiry session based on the I, Too poem by Langston Hughes (above) that fed into a writing exercise, prompting us to notice the house and respond to it. The trainees were then asked to create three movements based off their writing.

The activity culminated in a combination reading and performance by a few participants.

It was an excellent way to honor the space and Langston, as well as prepare ourselves for the day's work ahead.

From there, we moved onto philosophy of educa