Jocelyn Pannell is an artwork instructor within the Southington Public Faculty system, working at Hatton and Thalberg elementary colleges. Pannell stated she loves working with younger youngsters and provides that they’re typically open and trustworthy.
She grew up in Cheshire, the kid of a white mom and Black father.
Through the time of the Black Lives Matter protests final spring, one second grader requested Pannell if she was “unhappy about what was taking place on TV.”
“I knew what she meant. She acknowledged that I had darkish pores and skin,” Pannell stated.
The query caught Pannell off-guard. Pores and skin shade by no means got here up in the middle of her each day classroom work, no baby had ever made a remark or appeared to note.
“It was random. I believed that was attention-grabbing. Additionally, I used to be very happy with her for asking,” stated Pannell. “Possibly she was having that dialog at house; that it wasn’t proper these items had been taking place.”
Jocelyn’s husband Titus Pannell is also an artist. The couple have been married for nearly 5 years and, at the moment dwell in Wallingford. Titus works as a manufacturing coordinator for Elim Park’s Nelson Corridor in Cheshire. He additionally creates youngsters’s books and graphic novels. Just lately, he self-published a youngsters’s chapter guide, co-authored along with his good friend Travis Woronowicz, known as “Return to Eden.”
The Pannells described their totally different experiences rising up and
how problems with race had been dealt with of their respective households throughout their earlier years.
Titus Pannell was raised by his single mom, Mammie Pannell. “With out my father to information me, I needed to be taught what it meant to be a Black particular person and a person and convey the 2 collectively,” he stated. He’s grateful to have been blessed with male mentors who helped information him as finest they might when he was rising up. He went on to serve within the Marine Corps and earned his grasp’s diploma in conventional animation. He additionally has undergraduate levels in biology and theology.
He’s fast to elucidate that he “just isn’t on the lookout for sympathy. I’m not on the lookout for racism on this planet.”
Nevertheless, “Like most individuals, I got here into the world pondering we’re all equal. There are individuals who don’t really feel the identical approach and people folks categorical themselves in very attention-grabbing and distinctive and refined methods generally,” he stated.
At first, Titus Pannell questioned himself. “Was it me?” He’d attempt to change himself, issues he stated or the way in which he acted, or by not speaking in any respect. When he saved seeing the identical issues come round, he realized there was nothing he may do to vary something. “It was the folks,” he stated, though not everybody.
Jocelyn Pannell was born in Cheshire and grew up there within the Nineteen Nineties, with a biracial couple as her mother and father. Whereas she was conscious she was totally different from most of her friends and seen, “I’m the one one,” the very fact didn’t hassle her on the time, she stated.
“For years it was the norm … you might be at all times going to be the one who’s totally different,” was the way in which adolescent considered it.
Her mother and father, Karen and Joe Pugh, by no means gave her motive to assume twice about her ethnicity and Jocelyn recollects no in-depth speak about race when she was rising up.
Whereas she realized she was totally different, coming from a biracial household, it wasn’t a defining concern for her. Jocelyn can’t say for positive, however she believes that her brother was given extra of an perception into racism and the have to be cautious whereas she was shielded from these realities.
It was solely when Jocelyn Pannell was older that she heard about racism from older household relations and commenced to have perception into the importance of her heritage. “My father was one in all 14 youngsters in his household, raised on a farm within the south,” she stated. “When the prolonged household bought collectively, with my aunts and uncles, that’s when the tales would come out.”
Total, although, Jocelyn’s path was clear and unencumbered by problems with race. It was Jocelyn’s grandmother Virginia Doucette who impressed her to develop her abilities as an artist. When her grandmother retired and commenced to color, Pannell would sit and paint subsequent to her.
“That’s how I bought my itch via artwork,” she stated, including that on the age of 5, she was allowed to take courses at Artsplace, a free-standing artwork faculty owned by the City of Cheshire and affiliated with the Cheshire Public Library. Early on, when Jocelyn Pannell was getting concerned with the group, artwork courses had been held within the outdated firehouse constructing on Maple Avenue. She famous that Artsplace director Joan Pilarcyzk “has recognized me a very long time.”
When she informed her mom she wished to be an artist, her mom remarked, “There’s a motive why they name them ‘ravenous’ artists, you already know.”
It made sense to develop into an artwork instructor. She’d loved her time working as a babysitter in highschool in addition to working as a nanny throughout faculty breaks. Placing artwork, instructing and youngsters collectively labored properly.
As an artist, Titus Pannell supposes it’s in his nature to be delicate. Nevertheless, he stated that to be met face-to-face with racism, particularly after Barack Obama was president and Titus had served honorably within the Marine Corps is “disheartening.”
What pulls him again to a joyful place is his work, his artwork and his spouse, who he calls “his anchor.” Titus Pannell additionally credit Jocelyn’s father. “I didn’t have a father determine rising up, so I see him as my surrogate father. I cherish Jocelyn’s father,” Titus stated.
All of it encourages him and helps him to develop as an artist — and to do one thing extra optimistic to ensure that folks to seek out extra hope on this planet in the present day.