Collage Continues, Despite Stapleton Racists


Hey Collage Fam,

I hope everyone’s summer was absolutely wonderful, and full of bright and beautiful experiences to carry with you as we move into a new school year!

Before I dig into what Collage will look like this year, I want to take a moment to discuss a matter that may have led you to this site (rather than our coursework!) Specifically, I need to address what has been going on in the neighborhood of Stapleton, in the city of Denver, Colorado. If you are not aware, that community has been in a multi-year fight around changing the name, given its affiliation with a well-known historic Klan leader here in the Denver area. During this fight, racist and biogted individuals – including numerous members of the Stapleton leadership – amped up their hate speech, using private and semi-private community groups as meeting places to discuss and promote their hate. Clearly, a large swath of the community was in agreement with their bigoted views, because the community yesterday (Monday, August 19th, 2019) voted 2:1 to retain their association with Klansman Stapleton.

One of our founders, Cameron Grant, has spent the last many weeks fighting back against that racist push. The result has been multifold, including community members purchasing his information, and numerous threats against his family. Ultimately scared bigots in that community managed to have his Facebook account permanently disabled, while they continue to operate their hate groups. As a result, they have in effect disabled the Collage Facebook Page as well.

Collage stands in full solidarity with our members, our parents, and our anti-racist communities.

Despite the uptick in hate in the Denver area, we are determined to push forward! We have been invited to build and deliver curricula for two Denver metro schools this year! We are so delighted for this incredible opportunity. Keep an eye out for more details, coming soon!

As always, we love you, and thank you for your care and support.

In Solidarity Always,

Cameron and Maníge Grant-Giles

Collage Colorado on the Denver Teacher Strike

Collage Colorado supports the DCTA/Denver Teachers’ Strike! As readers may know, negotiations between Denver teachers and the district regarding fair and adequate wages have reached an impasse. On Friday, January 25th, after 93% of DCTA members voted to authorize a strike, DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova petitioned the State of Colorado to block a strike for up to six months! This move would render a strike meaningless. Denver teachers responded by officially requesting that the State not step in, but we’re awaiting the decision.

We are… dedicated to an unshakeable belief that… financial burden should never be a barrier to quality education.

Although Collage is a private entity, and despite the fact that our classes are presently hosted at a DPS school, we stand with teachers. From our mission, “We are… dedicated to an unshakeable belief that… financial burden should never be a barrier to quality education.” That conviction goes in both directions; money should not be a factor for students or teachers! Teaching is a science and an art, and in the world today more (perhaps) than ever before, a quality education is a basic necessity for life. With it, anyone’s odds of livable pay, adequate health care, and a quality end of life go up tremendously. All that said, we may have to modify some plans depending on if the strike happens, as Collage will not cross picket lines.

We are encouraging all of our supporters to email DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova and tell her that you support Denver teachers, and believe they deserve a fair and living wage for their work.

All the Updates

Happy New Year, Fam!

After a couple months of hibernation (as we here at Collage celebrated the holidays and prepared for 2019), we’re back, and we’ve got some big things coming!

To begin with, our second Collage@Odyssey term being this week at Odyssey School of Denver! This term we’ve expanded the course by two sessions, as we dig deeper into issues of immigration, race, class, gender, and more! Collage@Odyssey provides a differentiated and grade-appropriate curriculum that can be tailored to any student’s needs, however we find that generally, the format is most accessible to students in grades 3 and above. Email Cameron or Maníge at for more information, or to register your student.

Also, the Shop will be closing in the next few weeks. After a few-month trial run, we’ve decided that merchandise is not a direction we wish to pursue at the moment. We’ll still be producing posters and other materials for homes and classrooms, but we’re considering other avenues to make those available to you.

Finally, because Collage Colorado supports DCTA and Denver teachers, and because we refuse to cross picket lines, we may be forced to make modifications to the Collage@Odyssey syllabus and agenda. We will provide details as they are available.

Keep an eye here for more details soon. Cheers, Fam!

Happy Samhain-o-ween de Muertos… What?

Samhain-o-ween de Muertos…???

Good Morning Collage Fam!

So, it’s October 31st, and in many places around the world, people are preparing to celebrate…

I bet you expected us to say Halloween!

Indeed, may people do celebrate Halloween today (or tonight), but that isn’t nearly the only holiday celebrated on or around this day; across the world, there are numerous versions and variations and even utterly different holidays centered around this exact same time of year. Halloween itself is rooted in a much older holiday called Samhain. And some people refuse to celebrate anything at all this time of year.

You might be a little bit confused now, and that’s alright! We’ll do our best to clear that all up… so pull up a chair, grab a hot drink or perhaps a bag of treats, and let us break down a little bit of what makes this day so special.

Before Halloween, Samhain

Long, long before Halloween was ever the holiday it’s become, there was on the very same day the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain (pronounced Sow-in). This holiday was far from the goofy and commercial holiday we celebrate today, however; Samhain was a celebration of the end of the harvest, and the transition into the cold and dark months.

Ancient Celts believed that this time also signaled a “thinning of the veil” between the world of the living, and the world of spirits and the dead. It was a time to give offerings to lost loved ones, and to the gods and forces responsible for a safe winter.

Today, many people practicing a variety of pagan and earth-based religions still celebrate Samhain. This article has some ideas on how to craft that for kids.

Halloween Expands in the US

Halloween originally came to the Americas with the very first European colonizers – the so-called “pilgrims”; although it had roots in Catholicism and the celebration of All Saints, Protestants begrudgingly retained it, as it gave an outlet for people to channel some of their old traditions (that were seen as being in opposition to Christianity). Over time, as those traditions faded and the nation’s identity, Halloween began to morph into the holiday it is today.

Modern Halloween

For readers in North America and much of Europe, modern Halloween requires very little introduction; whether you were allowed to participate or not, it’s nearly guaranteed that you’ve been exposed to that holiday in one way or another. Across the United States, stores begin carrying Halloween items as early as late July or early August, meaning by the end of October everyone and nearly every place it seems has been completely overwhelmed by pumpkins, and candy, and black cats, and more. Needless to say, modern Halloween is highly commercialized, and much tamer than it used to be.

As much fun as the holiday can for some, it’s important to note that for a number of reasons, Halloween is not a welcome holiday for many people in the United States and around the world. Parents, teachers, and students should be aware that many people feel the holiday conflicts with their spiritual beliefs, and so they may be very offended if asked to participate. For this reason, many public schools no longer have Halloween celebrations. Although it can be frustrating and confusing sometimes, it’s very important to respect those beliefs.

Dia de los Muertos

For many in the Americas and particularly Mexico, the holiday celebrated around this day is not in fact Halloween, but rather Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, and while the two may seem similar in many ways, the two holidays are very different. Though Dia de los Muertos shares the theme of cracking the barrier between the living and the dead, the holiday is not one of scares and horrors, but rather a loving celebration of those who have gone before. This fantastic article dispels some of the bigger myths of the holiday.

Further Reading

Hopefully by now you’ve got a broader idea of just how big a time of year this is! We hope you have a wonderful and safe season no matter what. If you’re still interested in some further reading and viewing to keep you in the Samhain-o-ween de Muertos-y mood, we here at Collage love these books and movies for the season:


This book is a beautiful bilingual (Spanish/English) adaptation of one of Mexico’s most well-known ghost stories.

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, is a wonderful kid-friendly scary story that happens to have a fantastic movie adaptation to boot!

For those interested in digging deeper into the pagan roots of Samhain, this book is a must; it is one of the best family-friendly explanations of pagan belief and practice available.


The Book of Life is one of two wonderful movies about the Dia de los Muertos holiday.

Coco is arguably the best English-language film to date to give a real sense of the power and importance of the Dia de los Muertos holiday.

Although Pan’s Labyrinth is not strictly a Halloween movie (or even tied to Dia de los Muertos), it is a fantastically creepy (though not truly scary) film, entirely in Spanish, that captures some of the feel of the old pagan roots of both holidays. This movie is Rated R however (for some violence); be sure to watch it first before sharing it with kids.

Women of POWER

Today, we honor the incredible strength, fierce dedication, tremendous innovation, and exceptional brilliance of Women of Color.

Women of Color are the foundation of our society; to paraphrase Melissa Harris-Perry in her book Sister Citizen, Black women are the group by which our country can gauge our progress toward true social equity. They are the roots that hold our society aloft, nurture its foliage, and still anchor it to reality. As long as Women of Color are attacked, maligned, and diminished, we are poisoning our roots and will not grow. As long as our girls of color see matriarchs trodden under the feet of patriarchy and misogyny, none of us can move forward.

So today, honor the Women of Color in your life; know that they are Goddesses, Leaders, Queens, Innovators, and so much more.

Be Well, Fam.

National Coming Out Day 2018

Happy National Coming Out Day Collage Fam!

Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day this year. National Coming Out Day is a change for LGBTQ+ folks around the country to stand together in solidarity against bullying, bigotry, and oppression, by raising our voices loudly and declaring our queerness! It’s a big deal each year, particularly for people who are otherwise deeply marginalized (make no mistake, LGBTQ+ folks here and around the world face intense oppression every day, and it is only compounded by folks’ intersecting identities).

We take this holiday especially seriously here because LGBTQ folks make up much of the Collage Fam… in fact, both our founder and his partner Maníge outspokenly identify as queer!

Whether you’re out or not, this day is for you. If you feel or know that you cannot come out, this day is still for you. If you’re struggling to build the courage to come out, this day is definitely for you. No matter what though, stay safe. Owning your identity is liberating, but it should never be at the expense of your safety!

Even if you don’t identify on the LGBTQ spectrum, though, you can always be an ally. There are lots of ways to do this; you might:

  • Come out as straight! It might feel weird, but that feeling is nothing compared to what queer folks face coming out every day.
  • Wear a pride shirt, button, or other item to show solidarity.
  • Speak with your LGBTQ friends (if they’re comfortable, of course,) about their coming out experiences. Or just make space for them to share, if they choose.

Whatever you do, remember that this is a day for LGBTQ+ visibility; help make that a reality!



As you may have seen elsewhere on the site or on social media, Collage Colorado, LLC is working to start a hashtag campaign for the hashtag #WhenIBegan. Watch the intro video above, and check out the #WhenIBegan launch page!