Teaching Teens Civil Disobedience
IndraStra Global

Teaching Teens Civil Disobedience

New York Times Illustrator Sketches How to Make 'Good Trouble'


Image Attribute: White Nationalist / Copyright Christopher Noxon

Illustrator and journalist Christopher Noxon will be in Virginia Beach just days before the election with a message to teens - "you need to make more [good] trouble."

The latest politics have always been the focus of his work appearing in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Salon and the New York Times. Now, Noxon says the divisions have become greater than ever before. "We are stuck in a churning boil of outrage and panic," he says. "It is easy to feel that the whole democratic experiment is coming apart before our eyes. We are all faced with the same central question, 'How do we go on?'"

After a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum of Memphis, Noxon came away inspired. "It turns out that the Civil Rights Era has a lot to say about our particular historical moment. Their time is a story of despair transformed into resolve, of moral clarity focused against oppression, of a determined coalition finding new ways to address an entrenched and hostile establishment."

Noxon literally could not get the images he saw out of his head - mass protests, sit-ins, and marches overcoming generations of hatred. So, he sketched them and put them out as a kind of visual strategy guide. Those illustrations depicting key moments from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and '60s have been published in his new book, "Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook."

The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is hosting Noxon and featuring him in a TED Talk-style presentation on the positives of civil disobedience, as well as a grand opening of a gallery featuring work from Good Trouble at the Simon Family JCC. The gallery will also include five original watercolors addressing Virginia's civil rights history.

"We are thrilled and honored to welcome Christopher Noxon to our community to launch our annual book festival," commented Betty Ann Levin, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater's CEO. "Take the opportunity to view his illustrations in the Leon Family Gallery which will be on exhibit throughout November and December- they are inspiring and thought-provoking. Particularly at this moment, his message will resonate with all of us."

Jewish leaders like Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel were allies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the struggle for civil rights and that legacy of activism lives on to this day in many Jewish communities. The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is partnering with local high schools and youth organizations to connect Christopher Noxon with young people of all faiths, races, and political leanings interested in activism and social change. "Good Trouble and the history of the Civil Rights Movement embodies the Jewish values that have motivated generations of Jews to dedicate themselves in word and most importantly, in action, to equality, compassion, and responsibility, asking ourselves throughout history, 'If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I?'," says Robin Mancoll, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater's Chief Program Officer and their Community Relations Council's Senior Director.

Monday morning before the gallery show, Noxon will be running a 'political sketch-in' at a Norfolk Public High School. He will then head to Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, to work with their Innovation Lab where the students have been taking a 'reverse history' course in which they study from the present-day moving backward in time and have just completed a deep dive into the Civil Rights Era.

"The role of young people cannot be overstated in the context of understanding history and using those lessons to move forward," says Mancoll. "By learning from the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, younger generations are able to remove themselves from the name-calling and extreme polarization in today's society and rather embrace the essence of civil disobedience - denying outrage for the sake of outrage and taking part in thoughtful, issue-based activism," shared Patty Shelanski, Arts + Ideas Manager, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

The Jewish Federation welcomes the community to come to see the Christopher Noxon exhibit in the Leon Family Gallery at the JCC free of charge and stands behind his efforts to energize the young people to become the activists every democracy needs. All visitors are encouraged to take as many photos as they like and post online. It is living history for the Instagram generation.

Image Attribute: Moral Clarity  / Copyright Christopher Noxon
Image Attribute: Moral Clarity  / Copyright Christopher Noxon

Image Attribute: They were brave  / Copyright Christopher Noxon

Image Attribute: They were focused  / Copyright Christopher Noxon (Below)

Image Attribute: They were focused  / Copyright Christopher Noxon (Below)
Image Attribute: They were Prepared / Copyright Christopher Noxon


Image Attribute: They were prepared / Copyright Christopher Noxon

Image Attribute: They were faithful / Copyright Christopher Noxon

Image Attribute: They were faithful / Copyright Christopher Noxon

Image Attribute: They were joyous / Copyright Christopher Noxon

Image Attribute: They were joyous / Copyright Christopher Noxon

Image Attribute: Non Violence / Copyright Christopher Noxon

Image Attribute: They transcended politics / Copyright Christopher Noxon
Image Attribute: They transcended politics / Copyright Christopher Noxon