In|Dignity exhibit invites East Valley students to learn about Inland Empire community members through their stories

By LILIAN MOHR, MIA DELMONICO and AALEYAH WINSLOW

Duan Kellum, Redlands East Valley High School Ethnic Studies and English Language Development teacher, speaks about the InDignity Exhibit that was available for viewing in the school’s theatre building from Dec. 2 through Dec. 6, 2019. (Brooke Mgafilike/ Ethic video)

The In|Dignity exhibit, featuring life stories of Inland Empire community members who have faced discrimination or challenges throughout their life, was featured the week of Dec. 2 through Dec. 6 at Redlands East Valley High School.

Duan Kellum, Ethnic Studies and English Language Development teacher at REV, worked along side Robert Clarey, REV principal, to bring the In|Dignity event to the school. 

Several life-size posters displaying themes and stories of diverse people in the Inland Empire were displayed in the In|Dignity exhibit which took place in the theatre building at Redlands East Valley High School during the week of Dec. 2 through Dec. 6, 2019. (Amelie Palacios/ Ethic Photo)

The week-long event was featured in the REV theater building. The exhibit room was filled with large posters along with featured photos of people followed by first-hand accounts of meaningful life experiences.

Some of the stories included experiences like having bipolar disorder, struggling with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), recieving hate for being transgender, and severly abusive relationships.

The students of REV were able to experience the stories of courage told at the exhibit through traditional exhibit viewing and the use of modern technology.

Not only were students able to walk through the exhibit and read more than twenty different stories, but there was also a way to listen to each person’s voice. At the bottom of each poster display, there was a QR code to pull up each individual’s story through a cell phone and listen to the audio of each them telling their story in more detail. 

Students at Redlands East Valley reading the stories of people from the In|Dignity exhibit. (Amelie Palacios/ Ethic Photo)

If a student’s parents did not want them to attend the In|Dignity biography presentation, they had the option to opt out. A form was handed out to students in one of their classes to inform parents of the content of the presentation and to provide them with the option to not have their student attend.

Kellum said, “I have had the opportunity to read all the stories and they all are amazing, heart wrenching, and inspiring. To me it reinforces the reality that we all are\have\will experience some form of adversity. In a way, it’s an extension of Synergy.”

Students write and post comments in response to the different stories from the In|Dignity exhibit. Students could write their names or remain anonymous, and the post-its were readable by other visitors. (Amelie Palacios/ Ethic Photo)

As the week went on and more students got to experience the event. Kellum said that “what really moves [him] are the comments left by students and staff. They demonstrate that we as a community have the ability to connect with individuals and have authentic human interactions via stories and photos.”

Kellum said that when he first went to the website and started to read the different stories, he felt it was a great idea. The California State University, San Bernardino In|Dignity exhibit website has more information which can be reached at this link

According to the website, Dr. Arianna Huhn and Dr. Annika Anderson “received $15,000 from the California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to support the CSUSB Anthropology Museum” in the exhibit.

They  “hope that audiences of the exhibition will emerge from In|Dignity with more empathy and insight for disadvantaged ‘others,’ and a pledge for making a difference in the community through open-mindedness and civic participation.”

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