Theme 2: Community
"Living together is an art." — William Pickens
The people closest to us, those with whom we are most familiar and in some cases most comfortable, are often those we see least clearly. This group of images helps illuminate a range of communities, to highlight where they differ and to suggest what they may share. When it comes to language, food, clothes, manners, art, opportunities and limits, what do you recognize as yours? What strikes you as foreign, or belonging to someone else? Is there a certain logic to or reason for the various communities you belong to? When have you resisted joining new communities? When have you resisted accepting other people into yours? When have you felt yourself joining new communities and accepting others into yours?
Sample Icebreakers and Opening Exercises
- Think of a group or community you belong to. How did you come to belong to this group? What's good about belonging to it? Are there any challenges to this belonging?
- Have you ever tried to join a group that wouldn't have you? Why did you want to join and why couldn't you? Or, on the other side, have you ever been part of a group that kept someone out? Why?
Images and Discussion Tools
(NOTE: The following images are copyrighted. Obtaining image permission is the responsibility of the library.)
- Gay Pride Parade, New York City, June 28, 2009
- Home of the Red, White and Blue, Lilly Martin Spencer
- Nearing the Issue at the Cockpit, Horace Bonham
- Many Mansions, Kerry James Marshall
- The "damas" (maids of honor) go from the church to the reception in a Ford Explorer limousine at Ruby's "quinceañera," Huntington Park, California, Lauren Greenfield
For discussion tools and activities for the above images, as well as others in the Engage! series, download the Engage! Picturing America through Civic Engagement Guide.