News

Stop our slavery

Students at Oak Harbor Middle School have been learning about the modern-day problem of slavery in the United States and abroad.

After learning of the situation, they then informed other students through a series of projects that were produced in their eighth-grade art class.

The projects ranged from highlighting the numbers of people enslaved worldwide to showing the types of industries that utilize such labor.

“Every country says it’s wrong but still has it,” said eighth-grader Nick Brazelton who, along with fellow classmate Maddison Rodriguez, produced one of the more visual messages.

They gathered approximately 35 of their classmates and used them to form a man-made SOS on one of the fields behind the middle school. Along with the student message, letters spelling “Stop Our Slavery” were placed near the students.

“It basically means slavery everywhere needs to stop,” Brazelton said.

Once the message was finished, a single-engine Cessna, flown by Oak Harbor resident Jim Wais, flew over and a photographer documented the scene.

“It’s conceptual art about slavey and debt bondage,” said eighth-grader Robert Hubner, who was also part of the SOS formation.

Matt Young, an art teacher at the middle school, said that tens of thousands of people are trafficked into this country for forced labor, which is a number that has increased in recent years.

“It’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue,” Young said.

He added that many of the people brought into the country have to work off debts and would lose everything if they are caught and deported.

A slave house, depictions of working conditions in sweatshops and the industries that use such labor were other topics the eighth graders touched upon during their two-and-a-half month project.

Their work can be seen throughout the hallways at Oak Harbor Middle School.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbeynewstimes.com.

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