Stop the Violence Community Party is one element of the Youth Engagement Project. The Community Party is a pursuit of Breaking Barriers' goal of bringing people together. It works specifically with young people, families, adults and seniors to address violence in Dane County
The Sankofa project started with a trip with members of the Black Student Union from Memorial High School and East high school to visit historically black colleges and universities.
By collaborating with the UW first Wave Program and Hector Aristizabal-a UW artist in residence-the students were able to add another dimension to their experience, deeply processing the meaning of their experiences and creating a performance piece to share these insights with their fellow students, families and teachers.
In order to create community Breaking Barriers brought Community leaders into the school to have a discussion with our kids about their history, culture, challenges and barriers to success. We talked about self-love, the importance of loving self and of being connected to greatness.
Back2Black was a talent Show and fundrraiser for our BSU kids. It served as a safe space for our kids to find value in the talent that they possessed and be appreciated for such talents. There was a first, second and third place prize winner. Youth from all over the city poured in and performed, displaying their talents. We also honored Steven Goldberg for his contributions to the Sankofa cause.
Our goal was to allow the BSU kids to be peer mentoring to elementary school kids, teaching them the importance of self-esteem and self-value. Ultimately we wanted these kids to identify their super heroes within themselves. I believe it was a great success.
The Madison Schools Got Talent project started with mentoring at Verona High School, but became independent and expanded to the Madison metropolitan region.
This project developed from the interests of a few students that were interested in showcasing their culture and accomplishments to their fellow students but became an opportunity to learn about the musical performance and recording.
The winners were able to work with two legends of modern music and hip-hop, Juan De Marcos and Kurtis Blow. Juan De Marcos is a member of the Buena Vista Social Club and Afro-Cuban All Stars and an early as early practitioner of Cuban Hip-Hop. Kurtis Blow is a legend and superstar of early Hip-Hop.
The Teatro de los Invisibles was a collaboration between Breaking Barriers and the University of Wisconsin Center for Humanities, UW Spanish Department.
Most of the students in this program were or had recently been homeless. Over the course of nine weekend sessions students participated in dyeing cloth, making costumes including masks, learning dance steps and finally participating in the UW Strut! program.