Sunday, April 21, 2024

Norwescap’s “EPIC” Program: Joining Hands Against Racism and Igniting Creative Dialogue

Sussex County, NJ – August 15, 2023 – Norwescap, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to combating poverty and promoting community development, is proud to announce its visionary initiative, “EPIC – Building an Antiracist World through Education, Participation, Intention & Courage.” Supported by a recent grant of $5,000 from the New Jersey Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission, this initiative is set to transform young lives and elevate community discourse in Sussex County.

The core aim of this groundbreaking program is to empower youths from the local community to confront racism head-on through education, dialogue, and artistic expression. These efforts will culminate in a thought-provoking gallery showcasing the youths’ creative works in November, at Norwescap’s Sussex Boro Community & Cultural Center.

“We are deeply honored to receive the generous grant from the MLK Foundation,” said Dianna Morrison, Director of Norwescap Pathways 2 Prosperity/Degree UP. “This program serves as a transformative platform for our youth to engage in critical conversations about racism and to express their thoughts through art.”

The EPIC program will kick off with a special book reading, discussion, and signing by Esther Dillard, author of ‘Embracing My Black Natural Hair: A Guide from a Former Television Reporter Who Went Natural,’ on Saturday, August 26, from 7-8 p.m. at Norwescap’s Sussex Boro Community & Cultural Center, 37 Main Street, Sussex, NJ 07461. The book event, which is open to the public and will be attended by the teens enrolled in the EPIC program, promises to be an enlightening experience and a testament to Norwescap’s commitment to a more equitable society.

The EPIC program aims to foster understanding and collaboration among low-income teens facing racism, as well as their peers who strive to be antiracist allies. Following the book event, the youth will participate in a series of guided discussion sessions centered around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. These sessions will delve into the speech’s contemporary significance, ways to combat racism, and strategies for fostering racial equality.

Local artists from the community will collaborate with Norwescap to facilitate these sessions, encouraging participants to channel their experiences and attitudes towards racism into creative works, such as ‘biopoems’ and vision boards. The program will culminate in a captivating “EPIC Art Show,” planned for November 17, where each participant’s artwork will serve as a powerful testament to their journey and perspective.

Dianna Morrison shared, “Our ‘EPIC’ initiative is a beacon of hope, enabling youth to play an active role in driving change within their communities. We’re excited to harness the power of dialogue and art to address deep-seated issues of racism.”

With an inspiring lineup of collaborators, including local organizations, artists, and business owners, Norwescap is poised to make a lasting impact. The “EPIC Art Show” will travel to middle and high schools throughout Sussex County, engaging students, teachers, staff, and community members in the antiracist movement and highlighting the enduring relevance of Dr. King’s message.

As part of this comprehensive effort, Norwescap extends an invitation to local artists who wish to participate in this transformative initiative. By contributing their unique perspectives and creative talents, artists can play an instrumental role in shaping a more inclusive and equitable future.

“We are actively seeking local artists to join hands with us in this important endeavor,” said Morrison. “Support from our local artist community will empower our youth to express their experiences, dreams, and aspirations in a visually compelling manner.”

For more information about how to get involved, support, or participate in the “EPIC” program, please contact Dianna Morrison by calling 973-862-6680 or by emailing: morrisond@norwescap.org.

To celebrate this journey towards understanding, change, and creative expression, Norwescap cordially invites the community to the book signing event with Esther Dillard, author of “Embracing My Black Natural Hair,” on Saturday, August 26, 7pm at the Sussex Boro Community & Cultural Center. Pre-registration for this event is not required.