City, High School Partner on ‘Selfie’ Project

The Medford High School Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) has partnered with ‘Tracing Our Faces’ to present a ‘Selfie’ Project on May 7th (time TBA) in the Medford City Hall Council Chambers, called “Redefining Beauty”. ‘Tracing Our Faces’ consists of the Medford Human Rights Commission, The Commission for Persons with Disabilities, the Mystic Valley Branch of the NAACP, the Medford Public Library, Peace and Justice Studies at Tufts University, the Royall House & Slave Quarters, and the Medford Historical Society. The Tracing Our Faces Project began with a November 2013 kick off and has committed to events each month through December 2014. The series of events are to bring Medford residents together around issues of inequities, race, differences, etc. It was important to also include youth in this partnership.

Michael Skorker, advisor to the GSA and Diane McLeod, Medford’s Diversity Director met with students who are driving this ‘selfie’ project. This project was inspired by the Dove Selfie Campaign. A ‘selfie’ is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. They are often casual, are usually taken either with a camera held at arm’s length or in a mirror, and typically include either only the photographer or the photographer and as many people as can be in focus.

The purpose of this youth project is to create a positive, safe, and encouraging forum for everyone. Beauty can be evident in everyone. The project will have youth, adults, and anyone from the community sign a release/permission slip and submit a selfie, which will be enlarged and mounted for the event. Individuals are given ‘post-its’ and encouraged to note a positive aspect of a ‘selfie’ photo. It could include; you have a great smile, beautiful hair, etc. It is about positive reinforcement, which is critical to our youth today, who are faced with are faced with such peer pressure, about looks, designer clothes, weight, and just ‘fitting in’. We want all youth to know that there is no mold for beauty. Our differences make us unique, interesting, and beautiful.

The program will consist of the exhibit and a speaker. The speaker is Muji Karim who is an inspiration to all who hear him. After barely surviving a fiery car crash on Boston’s Storrow Drive in August 2011, Muji Karim groggily emerged from three weeks in a medically-induced coma to find that he had sustained burns to 31 percent of his body, resulting in the loss of both of his legs and the four fingers of his left hand, as well as a myriad of additional injuries. ( He has worked hard to overcome his injuries, find beauy and hope, and has gone on to support others in their difficult times, including some of the Marathon bombing victims. He is inspirational and resilient.

If individuals throughout the community want to be a part of this project by submitting a ‘selfie’ they can do so by first submitting a release/permission slip and then then their selfie. We would like all submissions in by March 30, 2014. For more information or a release form contact (781) 393-2501 or Selfies should be forwarded to

More details about this program will be forthcoming.

– Submitted by Diane McLeod

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