CoLab Goes to Washington

CoLab Executive Director Dayna Cunningham, Deputy Director Taina S. McField, and members of the organization’s leadership team recently traveled to Washington D.C. with colleagues at the Fundred Project, where they met with Speaker Pelosi and other lawmakers to advocate to put an end to lead poisoning. Also in attendance, and key drivers of the advocacy were lead-impacted families from New Orleans, Ohio and Michigan.

Over the past decade the Fundred Project has worked to activate knowledge, build empathetic public will, and demand public funding and action to end lead poisoning, a devastating health and environmental threat disproportionately in low income communities of color. Through the Fundred, a specific artwork that can adapt and catalyze efforts across the country, we brought together artists, educators, policy experts, and elected officials into sustained dialogue about the impact of lead and the value of children and families. Further invigorated by support of the Kresge Foundation, this year MIT CoLab, in partnership with Mel Chin and SOURCE Studio, set out to strike a balance between developing key relationships and scaling for impact, a challenge shared by most creative policy engagement efforts.

The young men featured in the below image created some of the first Fundreds a decade ago when the project first began and are now lead architects in the advocacy on the Hill.  This is our belief in community agency and self-determination in action using empathetic arts building tool as a catalyst for change.