The Justice Fleet Mobile Museums Win Grant to Engage the Community

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Jeanette Grider
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The Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) has awarded a grant of $10,000 to The Justice Fleet to take interactive art-activism into communities not normally served by traditional museums in an effort to inspire dialogue, play and community healing.

The MHC is the only statewide agency in Missouri devoted exclusively to humanities education for all citizens of all ages. It has served as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971.

As a passion project of Amber Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication at Saint Louis University, The Justice Fleet ventures into a variety of neighborhoods to engage community members in discussions about implicit and explicit bias, social justice and communal healing through intergroup dialogue, play and art activism.

“I started The Justice Fleet because I wanted to take the activities that I used in the classroom out into communities beyond the campus to try and make a difference on a larger scale,” Johnson said. “My goals are to re-imagine the ‘social’ in social justice, or what we do with others to create a more just society.”

The first exhibit in production engages community members in a dialogue about radical forgiveness – the profound notion that we don’t have to live with fear, pain, hostility, or injustice because we have control over the way we perceive, understand and act. Radical forgiveness is a fluid and deliberate process that allows people to heal the wounds of injustice.

“Based on student feedback and watching them grow into humans capable of empathy and compassion, I knew that what I was doing in the classroom was special and worth sharing with larger audiences,” Johnson said. “I target populations that museums ostracize: for inane, senior citizens living in nursing homes, citizens utilizing adult day care facilities, transient youth, children attending under resourced community schools and people living without homes that utilize shelters.” To get involved with the Justice Fleet Mobile Museums or for more information, visit www.TheJusticeFleet.com.

For more information about the grants program of the Missouri Humanities Council, call 314-781-9660, 1-800-357-1905, or write the MHC, 543 Hanley Industrial Court, Suite 205, St. Louis, MO 63144-1905.


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