“Facing Intolerance”: McFarland High School’s GSA hosts photo installation to promote diversity and challenge intolerance
In 2013, McFarland High School’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) presented “Facing Intolerance,” a photo installation art project. Created in conjunction with the MHS theater department’s production of Moisés Kaufman’s The Laramie Project, “Facing Intolerance” used the images and words of MHS students, staff, and alumni who wanted to share their own experiences with intolerance and prejudice.
“Every student deserves to feel safe in school, and the McFarland High School GSA wants to do everything we can to make that happen. Facing Intolerance is one exciting way we’re supporting social justice and promoting a welcoming school environment,” Sarah Bennett, a student GSA leader, said. Whether due to sexual orientation, gender and gender expression, race, body type, class, disability, religious beliefs, or any of the myriad ways in which people are made to feel excluded, nearly everyone has been a victim of intolerance.
“Facing Intolerance” sought to share the stories of– and foster solidarity between– the members of the MHS community who have been made to feel uncomfortable or incapable because of who they are. Their portraits and stories hung together throughout the school, representing the strength that comes from unity.
On Friday, January 4th, accomplished photographer Jordan Richmond, a 2012 MHS graduate and owner of Jordan Anthony Photography took photographs of those who wanted to participate in the project. Participants were asked to accompany their photographs with a story about their experiences with intolerance.
The images and stories comprised the basis for school-wide photo installations, on display the last week in January. The photo installation accompanied the performances of The Laramie Project January 31 through February 2, and both the photo installation and The Laramie Project were open to the public. During the performances, GSA members provided information and resources about promoting a culture of tolerance and respect.