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RACINE — Racine Educators United (REU) is partnering with THE PASSIONS PROJECT | Racial and Social Justice (RSJ) to offer an inclusive exhibit involving Case High School students and The Branch at 1501, 1501 Washington Ave.

The community is welcome to attend a gallery night on May 11, from 5 to 8 p.m., to help build community through passion and purpose.

“Be you. Be celebrated,” is the call to action put forth by THE PASSIONS PROJECT | RSJ Racine.

This project highlights Racine’s diverse student population by telling their stories in a unique way.

Community partnerships

The exhibit combines art with individuals’ stories to create a new narrative around living with passion and purpose inclusive of all races, creeds, genders and gender identities. It additionally raises awareness and provides opportunities for community-based dialogue and education centered on racial and social justice to help build safe, inclusive schools. 

In partnership with the National Education Association (NEA), the largest labor union in the United States, and Racine Educators United (REU), its local affiliate, art activist Heidi Wagner captures the stories and passions of local BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Case High School students in an art-based, community-impact photo installation.

This installation is a continuation of the work of THE PASSIONS PROJECT, a collection of photos created by nationally-recognized photographer and art activist Heidi Wagner, that exists within THE PASSIONS MOVEMENT.

The mission of THE PASSIONS MOVEMENT is to combine art with individuals’ stories to create a new narrative around living with passion and purpose that is inclusive of all races, creeds, genders and gender identities. Through photography, public art installations, digital engagement and community impact, the project provides a “dynamic platform to ignite social change through increasing community awareness, connection, inclusion, and visibility,” according to the website.

THE PASSIONS PROJECT Racial and Social Justice creator, Heidi Wagner
Heidi Wagner, founder of THE PASSIONS MOVEMENT – Photo courtesy of Heidi Wagner Photography

Partnering with the local educators’ union has afforded me a trusted network to connect with student affinity groups to create this photo series. When you see people engaged in their passion, you no longer see how they are different from you. You see a way to connect.

– Heidi Wagner


The portraits captured by Wagner are a response to recent attacks LGBTQ+ and BIPOC students and educators are facing across the country.

According to a news release, this includes legislation such as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida, restrictions on teaching critical race theory and how teachers can discuss racism in classrooms.

The REU and THE PASSIONS PROJECT | RSJ feel it is important to urgently support these impacted groups. 

“THE PASSIONS PROJECT | RSJ Racine addresses the vital need to create radical empathy to directly counter-attacks on the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC student communities by showing students in their full, vibrant, intersectional, and diverse selves,” said REU President, Angelina Cruz.

The portraits are sponsored by the educators’ union and organized by a Case High School student organizing committee. Tickets for Gallery Night can be reserved for free online.

More information can be found on Facebook or by visiting THE PASSIONS MOVEMENT website.

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