Fair Housing Project Blog Post
This past April, I, along with our Community Development specialist at the time, Olivia Gambrel, had the honor of hosting micro-learning sessions about fair housing at our local school district's primary and secondary centers. During these symposiums with Kindergarten and first-grade students, we had the opportunity to touch on some important subject matters relating to The Fair Housing Act in a kid-friendly way.
To set an engaging backdrop, we hung a poster board behind us adorned with images of peaceful civil rights marches. The board also featured age-appropriate information about fair housing, including photos from the books that would be read and subsequently donated. Additionally, we displayed a number to call for reporting any suspected fair housing violations. While there was an initial concern that the children might not be receptive to this crucial message, we were pleasantly surprised by the substantial level of participation and interest displayed in the fair housing law. This interest was further linked to its connection with the civil rights movement, which the children had learned about during the month of February.
Each learning session took on a unique and captivating life of its own. Notably, Ms. Jolley's kindergarten library classes at Pittston Area Primary Center stood out. The students drew pictures of their homes, providing a beautiful glimpse into their individual worlds. Some drawings depicted purple castles, while others showcased stick figures of family members and pets outside of traditional homes with pointed roofs. There were even depictions of lights shining from inside large apartment buildings. What was particularly heartwarming was the emphasis on diversity and inclusivity that was evident in these drawings.
During one of the reading segments from "The Fair Housing Five," a book authored by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action and donated after the learning session, a child exclaimed, "Hey, that’s not fair!" It was truly captivating to witness the moment when the concepts clicked in their young minds as they learned about the injustices faced by the characters in the book.
The overall impact of this experience was profound, leaving an indelible mark not only on the children we interacted with but also on me as an individual. This unique encounter was unlike any other I've had before. Observing the engagement, listening to the questions, and providing answers was a powerful experience in itself.
As the last session drew to a close, a young boy approached the front of the class to express his gratitude for teaching them about The Fair Housing Act. He handed me a coloring page of a house, adorned with vibrant colors and heartfelt thanks. This simple gesture served as a touching reminder of the impact our sessions had on these young minds and reaffirmed the importance of educating and fostering awareness about fair housing from an early age. That drawing hangs at my work desk still to this day.
In conclusion, the micro-learning sessions proved to be an enriching journey that not only shed light on fair housing but also illuminated the potential for change that lies within the hearts and minds of our future generations.
City of Pittston Redevelopment Authority