Discussing discrimination at school: Lauren Knouse discusses her heartfelt Capstone

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By: Eva Dorn, Online Editor 2016-2017

In the main hallway you may see something new: Lauren Knouse’s Capstone, which focuses on the issues of discrimination. The project displays the faces of JRHS students and quotes about their experiences or opinions about discrimination.

“My inspiration for my project was a TED Talk that Mr.Couillard showed in class about the Inside Out Project by JR,” Knouse said.

The Inside Out project promotes diversity through photography and art. The project takes several pictures of people in an area and displays them in a public place. A popular Inside Out project was on display in 2013 at Times Square, the project represented all the people in the boroughs of New York by pasting photos of New Yorkers all over the street.

“The pictures are raising awareness of diversity here because everyone thinks that James River is a ‘rich white kid’ school, but we host one of the largest ESOL [programs] in the county. If we walk out of our comfort zone and our little groups, we can see just how diverse this school really is,” Knouse said.

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Knouse’s Capstone features many portraits of JRHS students to show diversity. Photo by Eva Dorn

Knouse gathered the quotes and stories from students by going class to class and asking for people to anonymously write down their stories and thoughts about discrimination.

“It’s so crazy to think that some of these stories that I collected were too graphic or disturbing for me to put up on the walls. It really opened up my perspective to what people go through every day,” Knouse said.

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Knouse’s capstone features many anonymous quotes about discrimination and racism. Photo by Eva Dorn

Knouse is passionate about spreading the conversation of diversity and racism in our society, but it was challenging finding a sensitive way to discuss such issues.
“I feel like this project is a way of opening up the conversation of race and discrimination without shoving it down people’s throats,” Knouse said.

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Knouse presents a clear message through her photos and quotes. Photo by Eva Dorn
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