Despite the great diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area, we still face the challenges of segregation and prejudice, as well as inter-group tension and violence. In 1954, the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education initiated the process of widespread desegregation of American schools. Fifty-five years later, a 2009 report of The Civil Rights Project at UCLA revealed that schools are more segregated than they have been in over four decades, and that school segregation is growing. Our children continue to grow up surrounded by stereotypes, often with little or no exposure to those different from themselves. This dangerous situation breeds ignorance and fear, feeding prejudice and hatred, which in turn fuel violence and further segregation. The Mosaic Project works to break this cycle.
Many schools offer programs that attempt to address issues of difference, but these often do so in a theoretical way within a relatively homogenous environment. Most experiential programs that bring together students from diverse backgrounds wait until youth are in middle or high school when negative attitudes can already be entrenched.
The Mosaic Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, strategically unites students of diverse backgrounds in our unique human-relations Outdoor School. We reach young people before they leave the shelter of elementary school for the larger, more complex environment of middle school. We assist them in developing the self-confidence and tools to succeed as they encounter more people and more diversity in this new environment and throughout their lives.