A Message of Hope
In the United States, we are in the middle of a pandemic whose impacts are exposing the deep divisions, inequities and injustices in our country. At the same time, the horrific murder of George Floyd is forcing us to honestly confront the particular oppressions and brutality that African Americans continue to face in their daily lives. This is hard work for all of us, and it is long overdue.
OBS students from Orono Middle School (ME) and Leonard Middle School (Old Town, ME) provide a message of hope to help sustain us in this hard, and long-overdue, work. They believe that we need to see our common humanity, but we also need to stop, listen, and be aware of who each person really is – not the labels and expectations the world puts on us, but the raw, open, beautiful qualities each of us carries close to our hearts. Please watch this video and let these students inspire you in our collective work to create a better world.
Thank you to Nathan Manaker, OHS graduate and current student at Emerson College, for creating this “window into identity”!
3500 kids see a different world
- 1 didn’t know what the heck dew was, now he does.
- 24 didn’t know that they could be so welcomed into the home of someone they didn’t know, now they want to learn more about each others’ families
- 36 didn’t know they had friends in their neighboring communities, now they do
- 420 had never spent the night in Brooklyn, now they have.
- 650 had never started their school day walking through a metal detector, now they have.
- 950 never knew that you could know the names of every kid in your high school, now they do.
- 1100 had never been to the Bronx, now they have.
- 638 never thought of going to college, now they do.
- 910 never knew that Maine stars could be so bright, now they do.
- 875 had never had a friend of a different ethnicity, now they do.
- 1800 thought they didn’t have any stereotypes, now they know better.
- 1750 had never appreciated their communities, now they want them to thrive.
- 3000 feared differences, now they embrace them.
- 3000 kids see a different world.
In the 4th year of their partnership, OBS students at Lewiston High School and Maranacook Ccmmunity High School created a podcast, “The New Maine – Facing Race and Difference.” Listen to it here! And Connie Carter talks with Edsurge about podcasting with OBS students.
And Writing Songs
In the spring of 2019 the students of Old Town Middle School, Orono Middle School and the Indian Island School wrote and performed a song, “These Three Towns,” to express what they have learned in their 3-way OBS partnership. You can watch their music video here! In “Story of Old Town,” a student-produced video essay created for a class at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Connie Carter talks about OBS’s work in bringing community among the three towns of Old Town, Orono and Bangor.
Imagine what OBS could do for YOUR school
Operation Breaking Stereotypes (OBS) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, working with schools in Maine, Boston, and New York City to facilitate exchanges among diverse groups of learners. Since our founding in 2002, OBS has helped more than 2500 students address ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, and racial stereotypes through writing, reading, music, photography, and personal connections.