On February 18th and 20th, the Workshop’s staff and artists participated in a Learning & Growth session facilitated by Bay-Area based writer, poet, and educator Darius Simpson. In this two day seminar, we dug deep to address the hazy division of the professional and personal — namely how racism, sexism, and the many -isms that often translate into the workplace can be embodied on the personal level and can carry into our professional work. Darius invited us to reflect on what we believe in as people and how that can affect our work, and in a group activity he prompted us to reflect about what we are pro and what we are anti, spotlighting intersections between these beliefs. For example, how much of our beliefs are contrasting, even hypocritical? Can you be anti-racist and pro-police at the same time? Can you be anti-racist and pro-America at the same time? 


We then focused on the Workshop and what hypocrisies, dichotomies, and differences of experiences exist in the organization today. Hypocrisy is so intense in so many institutions, and organizations that proclaim to be anti-racist need to be continually self-reflective as an institution to surface, acknowledge, and repair these hypocrises and the harms they’ve caused. The Workshop, being a historically white-led institution, knows we have work to do to keep moving us toward dismantling white supremacy in our classrooms and throughout our organization. 


To give us an idea of how our anti-racism work shows up in the classroom, we talked with one of our teaching artists, Sabina Kariat. In answering the question of how has Sabina applied an anti-racist framework in her classroom, Sabina mentioned that “there’s always a lot we can do better. Constant growth. Taking that extra step, not just identifying racism and not only addressing it, but also moving into being ‘ANTI’ racist and pro-something else. Exposing students to artists they can relate to.” 

Created by Alice in Teaching Artist Sabina Kariat’s class at Paul Revere Elementary

An example of this is Sabina’s work with the students at Paul Revere. As her class is predominantly Latinx students, Sabina highlights murals by Latinx artists in SF Mission District in her lesson plans, and discusses with her students issues that they face, such as gentrification. Sabina’s students, especially the older kids, acknowledge these issues, and actively pull from their own lived experiences in the rapidly changing Bay Area to create their art. Sabina did an activist unit where students were invited to pick one issue and design a mural that articulated these issues and simultaneously imagined a solution. The artworks were then compiled into a virtual gallery where students could see their work as life-sized murals.

Sabina’s Virtual Gallery

One thing Sabina is trying to be more intentional about is making the most out of the discretionary spaces in her classroom, introducing anti-racist concepts into the many side conversations in the classroom, and even being mindful of moments during critiques where student work doesn’t directly address activism, but anti-racist topics could be integrated and brought in.


Our conversation with Sabina highlighted how important it is for us to put anti-racist conversations into practice in the classroom. Anti-racism cannot be only talked about as a concept, but we also must live an active anti-racist lifestyle by putting it into practice in our day-to-day lives. We invite you to reflect on your own life experiences, and reflect on how we can include anti-racism in our everyday routine.


Sabina Kariat is an Indian-American illustrator, animator, writer, and educator. She uses her art forms to make complex activist ideas and research accessible, to fuse magical storylines with real-world settings, and to delve deeper into questions surrounding her own identity. She has held co-creation workshops locally and internationally, and aim to use her art as a platform for the voices and narratives of marginalized communities, and education to increase access of those communities to means of creating their own arts platforms.