Sacred Heart students address racism through drama - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Sacred Heart students address racism through drama

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some Louisville kids are tackling racial discrimination and the darkest challenges facing our nation.

They say art imitates life. Those words couldn't be more true than this week at Sacred Heart School for the Arts.

"It doesn't go over their head. They see what's going on," said Loren Crawford, Drama Chair for Sacred Heart School for the Arts.

Seven middle school students in a summer camp penned their own play, produced, written and ripped straight from the headlines.

"And so they wanted to tackle the issue of racism and discrimination in the United States," Crawford explained.

The results steal the stage in a production called "Red Shirt."

Seven scenes, seven short stories -- unfolding first in the reality the kids say they know. The scene are then rewound, reset and played out again with a red shirt.

"I shot Emily in the eye with a Nerf gun and it was an accident, and I say it was an accident, but the parents take it too far and they say you're different, because you have a red shirt on," said 13-year-old Katelyn Wo.

In each scene the shirt represents something different, such as religion, culture or class.

"I think it's terrible and it shouldn't happen in the world, because people are discriminating against other because of stupid reasons, like gender or race, things that don't make a difference," said 12-year-old Harper Duncan.

There's even a bit of political satire during the production.

The crowd hangs on to every word -- never directly told who's wearing the shirt, though fully understanding the point.

"They have been magnificent and it gives us so much hope for our next generation," Crawford said.

WDRB asked the students what the process has been like for them.

"Honestly I've learned to be careful what you do and how you treat other people," said 14-year-old Will Kissel.

"You're taught when you are a kid that everyone has different opinions and you can't be mad if someone doesn't agree with you, but then we have adults who are killing each other because they don't agree,"  said 14-year-old Zoe Blake.

"People in the world today are very judgmental toward people who are different, when we all should embrace our differences," said 13-year-old Emily Wiseman.

The play concludes with its most powerful scene: a reflection of the Minnesota shooting where a police officer killed Philando Castile.

They say art imitates life and the world is a stage and in "Red Shirt," we see it through the lens of our youngest minds. 

"And I say look at these kids. They're amazing -- they're going to change the world," said Crawford.

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