Oakland International High School students raise awareness from coast to coast with their beautifully designed, practical guides
~ Check out the posters and hear directly from the designers below! ~
Do you know what to say if a police stops you in the street and asks to search you?
Do parents have the right to a translator at public schools in California?
Do undocumented workers have rights to workers' compensation and overtime?
Should you ever tell the police your immigration status?
These are a few of the many questions 11th grade students at Oakland International High School (OIHS) have been asking about their rights in the United States. What is my right to education? My right to interact with police? My right to a fair wage and treatment at work? My right to participate in elections? How do these rights differ for a citizen, documented and undocumented immigrant?
Students investigated the nuances of rights in the United States as part of the interdisciplinary Know Your Rights unit in their Reading class with teacher Aly Kronick and Digital Media Arts class with Mallory Moser.
After becoming experts in a topic, students designed posters and wallet-sized guides as tools to spread the knowledge. The students plan to disseminate the posters and wallet guides to their communities - mosques, churches, community centers, bus stops, schools and corner stores - to help teach their neighbors, family and friends how to protect and defend their legal rights.
Each student printed two posters - one to put up with classmates around North Oakland, where OIHS is located, and another to put up in their own communities all over Oakland. The students have also made strategic plans for how they will distribute materials based on location, foot traffic, and time people spend passing by.
How did this all happen? The project was brewing even before the election results. Back in October, students began learning about their rights in Reading Class, discussing and even acting out different aspects of their rights as documented and undocumented immigrants in Oakland. They studied situations that could occur in which they must defend their rights and what to say in order to protect them.
After the class analyzed effective ways to communicate and educate the public, they began applying their knowledge to the design of posters and wallet guides in Digital Media Arts class. Each poster and wallet guide includes three different parts of a right, how to respond when that right is at stake and images that bring the right to life, in both English and the student’s native language.
So far 2,900 postcards and 670 posters have been distributed to schools and organizations around the Bay Area and in New York. If you would like printed or digital copies of the posters for your school or organization, or if you would like to donate to the project, please contact email@example.com.
From the Designers:
click on the headline to view each poster
Arabic & English
I’m from Yemen originally, I’ve been here almost three years. In Yemen, some children don’t go to school and people can’t say anything to them, they don’t get in trouble. I chose this topic because I want people to know their rights.
Some people go straight to work instead of going to school and that’s not correct. Here, children have to go to school to learn so that they can go to college and get a good job and have a better future.
I translated my poster into Arabic for the people who don’t speak English and picked pictures that make it easier to understand. I like helping other students and my favorite class is English.
Spanish & English
I’m from El Salvador and I’ve been here two years and six months. When we first arrived, they used to pay my dad below the minimum wage.
He was working really hard and people told him that pay was not enough, so he left that job. It’s also important to know that if someone works more than 12 hours in a day, they have the right to overtime.
I chose colors and images so my poster would stand out and people will read it when they pass by. I want to be a nurse midwife when I grow up.
Cantonese & English
I have been in United States for four months, I’m from Guangdong, China. I chose free speech because I think it is a very basic right of humans. I learned that here we can protest what we don’t like and say negative things about the government if we don’t like it.
In China if we want to protest we have to get permission from the government first and most of the time it’s very difficult to get permission. I’m honored that my poster can help people to learn their rights.
I like to look at different companies’ marketing, like Google, I keep them in mind to use. I’m interested in computer science and car design.
Spanish & English
I am from Guatemala, I came here on the airplane with my brother in 2011. I chose this topic because many people don’t know what to do or say when police talk to them.
I have seen people get in trouble for no reason or give information that went against them. I started thinking about it and I learned my rights as I researched it.
The hardest part of the design was the background color because I needed to choose one that wouldn’t take too much attention. When I finish high school I want to go to college and become a doctor, there are many sick people that need help.