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‘Making Justice’ initiative provides creative space for at-risk youth

January 02, 2017 recently put the spotlight on an innovative art program that’s designed to provide a creative space for at-risk or court-involved youth.

The program, reports’s Nicole Ki, is called “Making Justice” and it’s designed to allow youth to “use art as an outlet for self-expression and to empower their voices.”

It’s funded by the Madison Public Library and is led, in part, by UW-Madison faculty member Faisal Abdu’Allah and alumnus Carlos Gacharná. Abdu’Allah is an associate professor with the School of Education’s Art Department, while Gacharná is a recent UW-Madison graduate who majored in art. reports how the “Making Justice” program was created in 2014 and holds weekly workshops for kids ages 11 to 17.  The program “serves over 400 kids who are mainly youth of color and come from low-income families.” It is an initiative that aims to use art as means to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, says Gacharná, who is a facilitator of the program.

The report continues: “A unique aspect of Making Justice is it runs in partnership with college students at UW-Madison, who help create and facilitate the workshops with the students as well as serving as mentors to the kids in the program. The opportunity to connect college students and the community’s disadvantaged youth fosters the growth of the kids in the program and enables them to envision attending college and pursuing their aspirations as a reality, Gacharna added.”

Abdu’Allah helps teach the course. As reports: “Abdu’Allah is known for incorporating race, masculinity, and violence in his screen printing, printed media, film, and his other works and volunteers his time to work with Making Justice students.”

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