Rebel Diaz Arts Collective by Karen Louviere

If you are looking for a place with people who quickly form bonds while building community through the arts, then Rebel Diaz Arts Collective is the place for you.Rebel Diaz Arts Collective is a hip hop community center in the South Bronx made up of students, musicians, visual artists and political activists.

My first introduction to RDAC was as a student in the Nuestra America Media Apprenticeship, where I participated in workshops in audio production, Photoshop, spoken word and political education. During the 8 week program, the workshops I attended helped me realize my strengths and weaknesses.  I realized that I enjoy writing poetry but that rapping is not my cup of tea. Neither was Audio Production, where a couple of students and I learned audio engineering. My strengths lie in organizing and outreach, where I’ve become a dedicated contributor. Currently, I help organize the summer youth program, as well as open mics and workshops.

A highly anticipated event coming up this winter is the South by South Bronx Hip Hop Festival(SXSBX). During this exciting 2 day festival  we will celebrate hip hop and examine its role in facilitating social change – past and present. We aim to bring together youth, activists, educators, families and artists of all types.  Several hip hop pioneers including Afrika Bambaataa have been invited to attend .There will be panels, networking opportunities and chances to enjoy performances by established and emerging talent. Stay Tuned!

A South Dakota Experience by Maleny Guerrero

I have always enjoyed community service, whether in the city or traveling to other parts of the country. The feeling of working to help others is amazing. A couple of weeks before the end of my freshman year at Parsons, a great service opportunity came my way. The service trip gave me the opportunity to travel to South Dakota for a week to build houses on a Cheyenne tribe reservation for Habitat for Humanity.  The trip was arranged by Nick Krebs in the OSDA office. Our group consisted of thirteen volunteers made up of 3 faculty members and 10 New School students.

When we arrived in Eagle Butte, South Dakota one could feel the tranquility right away. It was peaceful yet weird because I’m accustomed to the chaos and fast pace of New York City.  Every morning was a battle to get up, but once I smelled the delicious breakfast that was being cooked by the chaperones and my fellow students, my eyes were wide open.

All of us had to be ready for work by 8:30 each morning.  Once we arrived on the job site we were given specific tasks and instructions. The good thing about working with each other was the encouragement and motivation we gave one another. If we didn’t know how to use a tool anyone who knew how would teach without any judgment. We got the tasks done fast, had fun learning from each other while learning how to build, construct and tear things down.  Our team got along like a family.

We were received well by the community and bonded quickly with them too. They were very grateful for our help and were very humble people. As a history lesson, I listened to and believed every word that the Cheyenne tribe members told us about their struggle

and what their ancestors had to live through.