| Program: || It's US: A Celebration of Who We Are in America Today, New York, NY |
| Contact(s): || Toni Fay, Vice President, Community Relations: (212) 484-6401 |
| Purpose: || To encourage national discussion on diversity and race relations |
It's US, a photographic exhibition and education project, was inspired by a fall 1993 Time magazine special on diversity. Time Warner, Inc., in partnership with the American Library Association launched It's US in November 1995 to jump-start a national dialogue on race and American diversity. The photographs included in the exhibition were in response to four questions: 1) What does it mean to be and to become an American?, 2) What traditions and dreams do we share?, 3) What challenges prevent us from living in harmony?, and 4) How can we meet these challenges? It's US is designed to encourage national discussion on diversity, explore our common goals and aspirations, encourage and promote appreciation of our differences, and engender respect for each contributing culture's ways, practices, and traditions.
It's US is a traveling photographic exhibition supplemented by educational materials designed specifically for schools, communities and families. For example, the materials "For Schools" includes an exhibition brochure, a teacher's guide, and a poster on U.S. immigration. In conjunction with the exhibition in many cities, libraries and schools held essay contests which asked junior and senior high school students to focus on the four questions posed by the exhibition. In addition, students led town meetings on diversity in Washington, D.C. and in New York City, NY, and colleges used It's US materials as part of the -ISM(n.) National Diversity College Summits.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
It's US proved that libraries are an effective vehicle for disseminating material to a broad and diverse audience. Since its debut, the It's US exhibition has traveled to more than 130 U.S. cities and has been displayed in nearly 5,000 schools, community centers and public libraries. In libraries alone, the exhibition has been viewed by more than three million visitors. Also, the project discovered that junior- and senior-high school aged youth are most receptive to openly discuss race and diversity. The local essay contests resulted in the writing and submission of 4,000 essays. In April 1997, eight national essay contest winners were announced and each winner received a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond.