Youth Media for Building Healthy Communities

Community Health, Youth Voices

Anna Deavere Smith takes on the school-to-prison pipeline

Systems set up for the public good create victims of the very people they are supposed to help — this phenomenon is a driving force for Anna Deavere Smith, the playwright and actress who translates interviews with Americans into stage performances to personify large themes.  With “Notes from the field: Doing time in education,” Smith is taking up what has been termed the school-to-prison pipeline, the systemic process in which minority youth in the United States face disproportionate punishment in school — like suspension and expulsion —  and soon run into the criminal justice system. “This could include funding police presence in schools instead of providing therapists and counselors… [or] stereotyping certain students as “problem students”- a label that becomes racialized and near impossible for the student to shed.” A review of the show, which ran at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, is on Richmond Pulse.

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