I am trained as a visual artist, a theater worker, a dance teacher, and a yoga teacher, and have been working in these fields for ten years. In 2008, the Japanese government sponsored and educator's trip to Japan. While in Tokyo, we had the privilege to speak to a hibaksha, a survivor of the attack on Hiroshima. He shared his personal experience of the bomb and spoke from the heart to each one of the 200 educators, charging us with the task of peace education as the only viable tool for preventing and ameliorating the atrocities of war.
I have taken this task to heart and have been developing art projects that focus on intercultural and interpersonal understanding for my students, who are emotionally disturbed, inner-city, high-poverty children struggling to find peaceful resolution in their own lives. We use dress up, drawing, sculpting, painting, acting, and conversation to explore other cultures and environments, to understand how our self-portrayal affects our self-concept, to celebrate what is positive in our community and practicing solving problems in a nonviolent way. I have worked using techniques from theater of the oppressed, created animated films, and helped these children to envision a positive future self while studying the art of other cultures. I share these units with other teachers to nurture a larger learning community focused on values of peacemaking.