The USC College of Education hosted Maya Christina Gonzalez, artist, author, educator, activist, peacemaker and publisher, at its Spring Research Colloquium Wednesday, April 8, 2015 in Columbia, SC.
This Wednesday, the College of Education was pleased to host Maya Christina Gonzalez at our spring research colloquium.
Graduate and undergraduate researchers alike came to hear Gonzalez discuss her work as an educator, artist, activist and how her work is addressing gender identity and cultural equity among children. Her popular illustrated books are learning tools for children, reflecting all cultures and genders along the spectrum.
Earlier in the day, Gonzalez was a guest at the event "Literacy Friends," meeting with three classroom of children from Horrell Hill Elementary School and Windsor Elementary School. At the event, Gonzalez read excepts from her books with the students who were enthralled by the beautiful artwork, compelling story lines and "secret messages" contained in each of them — and by the fact that their individual cultures were all represented in her work.
Gonzalez’ body of work centers on equity and justice for all children and helping teachers build cultural awareness to promote positive identity for all learners.
Although not an "academic," her work is closely tied in general to critical theory, a school of thought that stresses the reflective assessment and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities, and specifically, to Paulo Freire’s concept reading the world before reading the word.
Her fine art graces the cover of Contemporary Chicano/a Art and is well documented as part of the Chicano Art Movement. She has illustrated more than 20 award-winning children’s books and authored three.
Gonzalez has worked with children and educators for the past 20 years about the importance of creativity as a tool for personal empowerment. She has developed three educator guides, Claiming Face, Gender Now and I See Peace.
In 2013, she co-created School of the Free Mind, an online learning environment to inform learners about expanding the mind and reclaiming creativity. School of the Free Mind offers e-courses for individuals interested in uncovering and connecting with the power of their unique creativity.
Additionally, in 2009, Gonzalez co-founded Reflection Press, an independent press that publishes radical and revolutionary children’s books and works that expand spiritual and cultural awareness.