Duets of Difference: What Matters to Us

This is a short film exploring the identities and stories of University Settlement community members studying English as a second language in the Adult Literacy Program accompanied by music and dance. The film is a culmination of a month-long teaching artist residency with four different Adult Literacy classes. “What Matters to Us” is a virtual reimagination and application of Creative Traffic Flow’s project, Duets of Difference. In this time of heightened xenophobia and political intolerance, The Duets of Difference project explores how people from different communities with different life experiences can connect in their differences. Students in the Adult Literacy program represent many different ages, ethnicities, and experiences. There were at least 11 different languages spoken amongst the class. “What Matters to Us” explores differences in family, relationships, and how to communicate as an English Language Learner.

Thank you to the Performance Project for making this collaboration possible!

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Advocating for Adult Literacy

This week our students took part in an advocacy campaign for increased state funding for adult literacy programs. Our students met with Alex Flood from Assemblymember Patricia Fahy’s office and Patrick Cronin from Senator Daphne Jordan’s office and talked about what effect their classes have had on their lives. Screenshots from the meetings are above.

Additionally many of our students made short videos to be share on social media talking about the important of their English classes – watch one example below or visit us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to watch more.

A special thank you to the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy as well the University Settlement’s Advocacy Director, Veronica Wong, for helping our staff and students prepare for this campaign!

We’re asking for $25 million in state funding per year for adult literacy classesto learn more, click here!

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The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual and cultural revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater and politics centered in Harlem in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Watch the video above to learn about the Harlem Renaissance and read a couple poems below by Langston Hughes, a poet who was part of it.

From Poetry.org:

Harlem

What happens to a dream deferred?

       Does it dry up
       like a raisin in the sun?
       Or fester like a sore—
       And then run?
       Does it stink like rotten meat?
       Or crust and sugar over—
       like a syrupy sweet?

       Maybe it just sags
       like a heavy load.

       Or does it explode?

I, Too

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.

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Duets of Difference, Starring Our Students!

DUETS OF DIFFERENCE: What Matters to Us

Thursday, February 18 @ 7:30pm EST

The Performance Project @ USS FB Live

Directed by Creative Traffic Flow: Jeesun Choi, DawN Crandell, Kristin Rose Kelly
Featuring Students from The University Settlement Adult Literacy Program

A short film exploring the identities and stories of University Settlement community members studying English as a second language in the Adult Literacy Program accompanied by music and dance. The film is a culmination of a month-long teaching artist residency with four different Adult Literacy classes. “What Matters to Us” is a virtual reimagination and application of Creative Traffic Flow’s project, Duets of Difference. In this time of heightened xenophobia and political intolerance, The Duets of Difference project explores how people from different communities with different life experiences can connect in their differences. Students in the Adult Literacy program represent many different ages, ethnicities, and experiences. There were at least 11 different languages spoken amongst the class. “What Matters to Us” explores differences in family, relationships, and how to communicate as an English Language Learner.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Join us on Thursday, February 18 at 7:30 pm here!

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Happy Lunar New Year!

From the Oprah Magazine:

The Lunar New Year, most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, typically falls sometime between January 21 and February 20 annually. Lunar New Year 2021 is on February 12, and in terms of the Chinese zodiac animal, it’s the Year of the Ox.

The Lunar New Year isn’t only observed in China, it’s celebrated across several countries and other territories in Asia, including South Korea and Singapore. In Vietnam, Lunar New Year is known as Táşżt, and in Tibet it’s Losar. In the U.S., though, it’s most commonly associated with what’s often called Chinese New Year, the American version of China’s 15-day-long festivities.

Click here to read more!

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