A group of kids with the Middle Project JustArts Kids Camp were in Tompkins Square Park around noon to protest the NYPD patrol tower that arrived on Tuesday...
EVG correspondent Steven said that the campgoers are from the JustArts day camp, a collaboration between the Lower East Side Girls Club and The Middle Project, part of the Middle Collegiate Church on Second Avenue at East Seventh Street. The campers were chanting "No justice, no peace."
Edited to reflect the name of the day camp and affiliations
There are comments here from both Lyn Pentecost at the Lower Eastside Girls Club and the Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis from Middle Collegiate Church (and executive director of the Middle Project).
Here is what Rev. Lewis had to say:
I want you to know the Church and the Middle Project have not yet made judgment about the tower in the park. It just got there and we have not yet discussed it. When we know, we will say. In the meantime, we will not rush to judgment, we will engage with you and the police about it, and we will do all we can to help make our community safe.
So our little people were not expressing an official opinion from the adults who shaped the camp. What they did in the JustArts Camp was to talk about justice, to talk about what it means to be citizens of the world responsible to use our voices to create a more just society, and to reflect on/do art in service of justice. Some of our children have marched for justice issues. What they did in this case was a concert in the park, and chanted No Justice, No Peace. with their drums. The camp art and conversation was focused on justice--economic, racial, lgbti, environmental...
What is great about art is it creates a space for us to reflect, to project, to imagine. All who gathered likely had different interpretations of what was happening. And each child, each family represented, might feel different about the art, about the tower, about the city, about the events in our nation that call forth voices on police reform, safely, etc. We encourage not only justice work but freedom of thought, speech, etc.
I am fascinated by this conversation, and glad for it. It is the best result of our intent. Our voices, our art, invoke/evoke/provoke conversation, reaction, new ideas, dialog, resistance, encouragement. A good conversation helps us to know each other, to be stretched by each other, to find solutions together that we hope change the world for the good. I am thrilled that EV Grieve told of this event and hosted this conversation. Thank you!
Yes, Middle Church is justice forward, working to heal our souls and our world. The Middle Project is our non-denominational non-religious partner. It works to to teach ethics to children, youth, young adults and clergy that lead to a more just society. I know you share our passion for justice. We believe that when we know justice, we will know peace.
Thank you parents, thank you LES Girls Club, thank you Middle Project Team for helping our little people use their voices. Thank you neighbors for watching the concert, for watching out for all of our community children, encouraging them, being a village for them. And thanks for engaging in this dialog.