Skyline’s MOT Alumni presents ‘Kick’

Leo Gomez claims that certain logos can dehumanize ethnic groups ()

Leo Gomez claims that certain logos can dehumanize ethnic groups ()

Skyline’s MOT (Museum of Tolerance) Alumni paired with the youth organization ENCOMPASS to present the one-man play “Kick” on Nov. 9-10, being the third year MOT has featured a performance in the Skyline theatre.

In effort to deliver their mission statement: “to foster tolerance by demonstrating model qualities, celebrating diversity, and speaking out when hearing or seeing examples of intolerance,” the non-admission play was funded by President’s Innovation Fund, and proposed by Skyline’s MOT Alumni Carla Campillo and Donna Elliot.

DeLanna Studi, the play’s one and only actress, portrayed several characters who’s dialogue and actions described the adversities of the main character Grace Greene, a high school senior of American Native background. Studi not only demonstrated a Native American student’s harsh experiences as she attempted to rid of her school’s logo of an Indian head, but also reveals that there are many existing logos today that she believes to be disrespectful to her heritage.

Although her role as a Native American student at Newman High was fictional, the script was based on hundreds of American high school student interviews that have encountered prejudice in their schools. It also incorporated facts about the history of Native Indians, including where the term “redskins” derived from, which is the official NFL Washington football team.

“During the Trail of Tears,” Studi says, “stores would have signs similar to their logo which meant that you were able to trade in Indian bodies for money.” But due to limited space, this practice later changed to the collection of Indian scalps. “English women didn’t like the term ‘Indian scalp’, so they called the scalps ‘redskins’.”

The compassion play included a discussion led by the play’s facilitator Diane Flinn, which allowed students to share their thoughts before and after the show. Many students of different ethnic dissents spoke out.

Latin Skyline student Leo Gomez claims that the performance increased his awareness of prejudice towards the Native American heritage: “Now knowing where ‘redskins’ came from, it dehumanizes them.”

Student Jon Wheatley adds to Leo’s comments, “I’m half Latin and half White, and after seeing the play, it wakes me up. Those logos are more than just an image…”

Conversely, Kirsten Upchurch, a Skyline student of Native American ancestry, describes that she is used to the use of Indians being used as logos. “It doesn’t affect me at all. It’s just a picture. Either way, someone somewhere along the line is going to be mad at its use.”

When asked what main message she would like students to leave the auditorium with, Studi states: “If anything, I hope many realize that one voice makes a difference…sometimes all it takes is one person to speak out.”

Along with Skyline Students, the audience also included high school students from Baden Continuation High School in South San Francisco.

International Student Program Counselor Carla Campillo describes the importance of the play’s message. “It shows the importance to communicate and to be in touch with us…It creates dialogue for people to talk about race issues and stereotypes.”

When told that many participated in the discussion after the play, Campillo shares her thoughts.

“The discussion is an interactive piece that gives people a chance to be inquisitive.” Towards Native American logos, she includes that the play reveals the importance of awareness of the identity of the Native American heritage. “‘Kick’ also shows the other side of the coin, a group’s sense of history, pride, dignity…respect.”