Tuesday, September 12, 2017: Chicago – The new fall season for Facets Teach-Ins address the relationships between men and women, the dangers of nuclear war, the understanding of Islam, definitions of a political revolution and the role of women in film and media. The Teach-Ins, which Facets began in February 2017, are a twice-monthly program […]
So our goal is always—no matter what we’re doing—it’s to educate people. Always. We had our last forum and we say we don’t need to know the politicians. You meet one politician, you’ve met them all. They need to know who we are. So when we have a forum, it’s about you knowing me, not me knowing you. You’re one of a billion. But now you need to know who I am. Because I’m not one of the zillion and even if I am, it’s a zillion of me you need to know…
When I hear folks in healthcare concerned about young people adhering to the regiment of a medication like PrEP, I don’t often hear them talking about the structural oppressions that make adherence difficult to impossible: lack of safe storage; the bureaucracy around Medicaid that makes it so easy to lose care; being denied services based on gender markers, or a new name that doesn’t match medical records; not having state ID, a social security number, or other documentation; lack of bus fare to pick up or refill prescriptions; the criminalization of survival crimes and/or quality of life crimes; limited access to a consistent phone number or email; the lack of youth-only spaces.
CCBF is a revolving fund that will pay bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County Jail (CCJ). In addition, we will engage in education about the role of bond in the criminal legal system and ultimately advocate for the abolition of money bond. CCBF supports individuals whose lives and communities have been impacted by structural violence and whose bonds are completely out of proportion to their ability to pay.
We need to build a mass political movement, which will relentlessly dismantle oppressive systems from multiple angles—through social justice unionism, de-privatizing and wholly subsidizing public services, universal health coverage for everyone without exception, and ultimately removing the most toxic poison to public health: capitalism itself. True healing will require an end to what is killing us, and the creation of a future where our systems enable collective well-being, prevent violence and disease, and protect us from exploitation and oppression.
2008 – 2009 Standish Willis calls for “Reparations” for the Chicago Police torture survivors. He is the first to frame the need for significant and expansive redress using the language of reparations. Oct 16, 2008 Jon Burge is indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice for falsely denying he and detectives at Area 2 Police […]
Following are transcripts of three of the testimonies offered during the City Hall Finance Committee Hearing from April 14, 2015 that discussed the proposed reparations ordinance for survivors of Chicago Police torture ordered by ex-CPD chief John Burge. AREA Chicago strove to transcribe every word and remain faithful to the testimonies as they were given. […]
Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), Assata’s Daughters, We Charge Genocide, #Not1More and Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) are taking action today to shut-down the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference in Chicago to demonstrate the urgency for a fundamental shift in the way this country invests in our most valuable resources – our people. Together, we’re organized to demand that our lives, our communities and our futures be made a priority. The police chiefs who belong to the IACP, and their local departments have a debt to pay for the lives and the resources they’ve stolen and we’re here to collect.
When we talk about how African people or Black people built America, this exhibit will show you how deep: not only that we built the structures, early structures in America physically, but the capital produced financed the entire expansion of this country. And you’ll see in some of this research it also financed England’s industrial revolution. It definitely financed this industrial revolution here in America. There’s nowhere in any large city that you can’t go and visually see our ancestors’ labor that was stolen from us…
Kamm Howard shared a long and in-depth interview about the fight for reparations for peoples of African descent globally, within the Caribbean, nationally and in Chicago, drawing upon international law and his work with the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). Following is a short version of the transcript of this interview. […]
I think that when children are exposed to such violence and the presence of death, their thought process is so much deeper than the normal teenager. They actually have to think deeper because at an early age you must first learn how to survive and then if possible entertain the idea of “living.”
Panzy Edwards called for an evening protest on Mother’s Day, Saturday May 9, 2015 at 6PM at the intersection of E 67th St and S Indiana Ave. This is the site where Panzy’s 15 year old son, Dakota Bright, was executed by the Chicago Police Department. The demands of the march included: Dismantle the Chicago Police Department—No Cop Zones in our communities; reparations for all victims of state sponsored police violence; a Civilian Police Accountability Council— can we fight to dismantle the entire Chicago Police Department while at the same time push for civilian oversight of Police Districts?
Chicagoiguala is not just a drug corridor. Chicagoiguala is where we live, an integrated global supply-chain linking captive labor, extraction, assembly plants, finished commodities, planning processes and financial flows. It is how logistics firms and consultants “restructure” the state, channeling public moneys and migrant remittances into infrastructure projects that open up new territories for transnational extraction. It is how Mexican economic and political elites are organized in the US as Latino politics, whose function is to de-indigenize and manage the mass migration. Chicagoiguala is a border zone where our struggles for liberation are disarticulated by “immigration reform” politics and the electoral spectacle.
It could be that the part of us that most needs healing is the exact same part of us that has capacity to work for liberation. This is the part of us that is both oppressed and defiant. What do we do with the urgency to abolish genocide that also feeds us? Why is it that the terms of freedom and sustainability are defined as self/community preservation, but all too often point toward self-destruction? How could it be that we are tasked with both resisting within and without?
“Chi” means big in Ojibwe but also it’s short for Chicago and we come from many nations – so we are Chi-Nations. This text is based on a recording of a group conversation among CNYC members on October 4, 2015. Participants: Naomi Harvey-Turner (Lakota), Co-President CNYC; Adrien (AJ) Pochel (Cree/Lakota), Chicago-Citywide American Indian Education Council (CAIEC) Youth Ambassador; Anthony Tamez (Cree/Lakota), Co-President CNYC; Janie Pochel (Cree/Lakota), CNYC adviser; Raven Roberts (Potawatomi, MiqMaq, Oneida) adviser.
the range of activities and efforts we grouped under the rubric of “healing” represent a dense field of political and social experimentation. These practices attempt to address systemic harms while at the same time enacting social possibilities beyond the logic of capitalism and white supremacy. But notions like healing are also often used as a stand-in for a pacifying and repressive set of practices. In a context in which the deepening crisis of capitalism is framed as though it is caused by Black people and poor communities of color, by immigration, by physical and mental disability, by gender nonconformity and womyn, the liberal agenda of “healing our communities” or “healing from violence” actually perpetuates and deepens structural and uneven exposure to violence in its many forms. This version of a healing politics has been central to the project of creating a Chicago that is safe for capitalist development and investors, for tourists and the professional class.
“Raise Awareness and a Garden – Part 2” was a panel discussion organized and facilitated by Eric Kofi Xola Malone and the Chicago Wisdom Project in April 2015, at the South Side Food Forest on Chicago’s South Side. It was a follow-up to a similar event organized the year before, to deepen the public discussion […]
A story about how the death of John Vietnam spurred a movement of hungry young artists, seeking to reimagine a better world though hip-hop.
Produced by Francesco De Salvatore
Music by Mo Beats, John Vietnam, Elephant Rebellion, and Francesco De Salvatore
In January 2015, Access Living hosted a community forum with Danelene Powell-Watts, mother of Stephon Watts, a disabled 15-year-old Black child who was killed by police officers in his home. The print issue of AREA #15 contains an a transcript of a portion of this forum. Here we include a full, unedited recording of the […]
You Can Die and Then be Buried or you can Raise Above the Grave and Fight with N’Dana Carter On April 15, 2015, AREA Chicago sat down with N’Dana Carter in Nichol’s Park to talk with her about her involvement in the Mental Health Movement (MHM). The following is an excerpt of that interview. N’Dana […]
How is the State used against Chicago women of color who organize and unschool or homeschool their children? Ella Baker Freedom School co-founder Marissa Brown is facing potential criminal charges for homeschooling her 2 daughters! Marissa has been a community activist that has been consistently vocal about her opposition to state sanctioned violence against Black […]
The Experimental Station, 6100 S Blackstone Ave, Chicago Sunday, December 6th 2015, 3:00-5:00 PM Please join us to celebrate the release of AREA #15: Healing and Repair, to meet contributors and hear updates, to offer your own reflections and input to this citywide conversation. We will also unveil projects for the online special issue! This event is free […]
We are proud to release “Whole Lotta Love”, the first in a collection of of content for AREA #15 online: Healing and Repair. “Whole Lotta Love” is an audio project collaboration between Elephant Rebellion and Francesco De Salvatore for AREA #15: a story about how the death of John Vietnam spurred a movement of young […]
June 30, 6:00 – 9:00 PM Township, 2200 N California Ave, Chicago $10-$20 at the door, sliding scale Join us for an evening of music and conversation, an update about our work on the upcoming issue of AREA: Issue 15 and check out the newly added silent auction items! Asian-Fusion dinner for up to 4 : […]
Deadline has been extended until January 15! Issue #15 of AREA Chicago will focus on how community-based practices are redefining our understanding of healing and care. We consider this topic broadly: from exploring experiences of oppression and resistance, to understanding generational trauma and systemic harms, to rethinking our understandings of violence, health, self-defense, restitution and […]
The “court” is brightly lit, but not in the way that evokes excitement. The light is more of a numb, constant bright. There’s the roar of the crowd, but it’s not for you or your game. You sit across from your opponent and they start by flicking the quarter toward you. It spins on its […]
Participatory Action Research on Family-Supported Conversations About Sexuality From October 2012 through June 2013, youth at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) set out to expand dominant notions of family to better address their sexuality-related needs. ICAH’s Youth Leadership Council (YLC) conducted a Participatory Action Research study focusing on family-supported conversations about sexual health, rights, and identities. ICAH […]
“Chain Reaction: Alternatives to Calling Police” was a grassroots effort organized in Chicago from 2011–2013 by members of Project NIA and the Chicago Prison Industrial Complex Teaching Collective. We founded this participatory research and popular education project with the goal of supporting conversations about alternatives to calling police on young people. When police intervene in situations […]
One sunny September Saturday afternoon, I threw a few apples in my backpack and left my apartment. The crisp air seemed to wash away the worries of the week as I walked a few blocks south to meet up with a small group of friends and colleagues, the Social Justice in Early Childhood Study Group. My […]
A previous version of this piece appeared on usprisonculture.com. The American Child Welfare system is characterized by significant and durable patterns of racial disparity. While the character of these disparities has changed over time, African-American and First Nations families in particular still experience dramatically higher rates of intervention than do white families. There isn’t […]
The February 26, 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman sparked waves of public demonstrations across the United States, creating a rupture in the myth of a post-racist United States. Millions of Black people and their allies donned hoodies to symbolize an association with a boy deemed suspicious because he was wearing one. In Chicago, […]
Undoubtedly, society has changed dramatically since the days when a crowd of parents brought their all-white infants to be weighed and measured by doctors during the Illinois State Fair’s “better baby contest” in 1931. Eugenics laws and popular beliefs at that time held to the notion that mental, behavioral, and other human aptitudes were tied […]
I nearly cried when Netflix sent me an email announcing that season three of Louie was available. Louie is one of very few television series that genuinely piques my interest. In all of its offbeat, melancholic and twisted Woody Allen-esque humor, Louie speaks to the many matters of contention that lay in the American social sphere. Louis C.K., […]
Across the political spectrum, people are talking about the “illegal immigration” crisis and about Immigration Reform as the best possible “solution.” But these debates do not challenge the root causes of forced migration, and do not consider how or why migration has become so criminalized. Instead, the debates center on the supposed need for a […]
In November 2013, Erik Muñoz found his partner Marlise collapsed on their kitchen floor. After arriving at the John Peter Smith Hospital she was declared dead, but since she was fourteen weeks pregnant the Texas hospital refused to remove her from any “life sustaining” measures. The health of her fetus superseded her advanced life directives […]
Since June 2013, I have been doing an internship with Project NIA’s founder, Mariame Kaba, on writing and illustrating a children’s book for kids with incarcerated parents. Project NIA’s mission is to reduce our society’s reliance on arrest, detention, and incarceration when addressing youth crime by providing opportunities for all of us to see that […]
Scared Straight Last spring, a school program provider looking to hire peer educators to lead sex education workshops for her students asked if the youth facilitators I worked with were effective at “Scaring kids straight.” When I explained that the organization I work with avoids using shame and fear tactics in our workshops, the program […]
In fall 2013, I initiated a project in collaboration with two groups of students: with nine students from the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) of Chicago, and a group of children at the Telpochcalli Elementary School in Little Village, a small neighborhood school specializing in dual-language immersion and arts integration. Our class, Collaboration: Art […]
After participating in a Story Corps interview, Lisa Angonese recounted from memory some of the questions and answers. Q: Describe your neighborhood and community. A: We live in a low-income neighborhood that is quickly being gentrified, with condos and family-owned business closing in. We feel ousted out of our own homes. The rents in Pilsen […]
In June 2013, Chicago Childcare Collective (ChiChiCo) volunteers were asked to participate in a Housing Justice Bus Tour of Chicago, being organized by Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction (our partner org!), the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign and Centro Autónomo. We were asked to provide activities for kids at each stop of the bus ride, and […]
A short piece about the intersection of the detention/prison industrial complex with the nonprofit industrial complex. Undocumented children are being incarcerated in increasing numbers, and often in adult facilities where they face extreme and brutal conditions. There is an urgent need to get these children released from the grip of Homeland Security. And yet the case of children detained as “unaccompanied minors” illustrates some of the contradictions: in order to ameliorate conditions for detained children, nonprofits become funded to administer their captivity. In this and many other ways, the sphere of advocacy becomes complicit with, and financially co-interested in, the very structures it is supposedly working against.
Introduction In late 2012, Mariame Kaba, one of the co-founders of the Chicago Freedom School (CFS) and a board member of the organization, wrote to her Facebook friends asking if they would be interested in organizing a social justice book club for children. She’d been considering the idea since the inception of CFS six years […]
“Why don’t we have recess?” my students would often ask me during my six-year stint as a Chicago Public Schools teacher. “Why don’t we have recess?” my own children would often ask me during my five-year stint as a Chicago Public School parent. Well, like any teacher unable to answer a question, I asked the […]
My daughter Sol is a lively eight year old who is navigating third grade. She attends a wonderful neighborhood public school in Chicago. Two AREA editors, Jacob Klippenstein and Mohamed Mehdi, and I sat down for a conversation with her. We have changed the names of the kids and teacher mentioned in this story, and hope it […]
I work at a youth arts organization that offers informal learning experiences to teens and young adults. Our free programs bring adult artists together with youth to foster experiential creative practices through an integration of HOMAGO values (Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out) into everything we do. Artist throughout history have always had hang out time […]
The exhibit Recess, curated by Tempestt Hazel, was at the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) at 3831 S. Michigan Ave., from October 11 through November 9, 2013. It included the work of contemporary artists as well as artists from the permanent collection of the SSCAC. AREA Chicago had an extended email discussion with Tempestt […]
See the video here While expecting their first child, Chelsea Cossu invited her partner Stefano to experiment with the playground equipment in their neighborhood play lot. She then videotaped the shadows cast by rubber balls rolling across the playground equipment projected on the rubber turf below, creating the illusion of a pixelated screen. There is […]
This essay was first published in 2013 on the Prison Culture blog at www.usprisonculture.com I have been closely following the latest round of school closings as a community organizer with the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE). Throughout the process, I have noticed a tendency by those arguing against the closures to rely on particular arguments […]
Our Story Roots The Chicago Childcare Collective, or ChiChiCo for short (pronounced CheeCheeCoe), was formed in 2007 by a group of radical activists and friends, including Lewis Wallace, Amita Lonial, Simon Strikeback, B Loewe, ChaNell Marshall, and Sam Worley. These organizers became aware of a need of many racial and economic justice–focused organizations in Chicago: […]
When I was at the Cook County Criminal Courts (2650 S California Ave) I saw signs on a couple of the courtrooms. I noticed them first outside Room 307 when I heard a child reading line by line, “No children… allowed… in the… courtroom.” Since phones and cameras are now banned from the courthouse, I […]
I approach this article as a parent, comparing the drastic differences among organizing spaces and their reaction to my child’s presence, ranging from disapproval to tolerance to welcoming. Participation that once was accessible to me suddenly became elusive once my daughter was born. Parents, grandparents and caregivers may find themselves in a similar situation with […]
Euan Hague interviews American Families United (AFU) president Kathy McGroarty-Torres about the impact on children of having one parent trapped in immigration limbo. Euan Hague (EH): Why did you get involved with American Families United? Kathy McGroarty-Torres (KM): My husband and I got married eleven years ago. Ten years ago, the US government rejected my […]
In April 2013, Charlie Branda, a long-time Old Town resident and mother of two, brought together the Near North Unity Program and Architecture for Humanity Chicago to help realize her vision of a nonprofit storefront arts center, providing sliding-scale classes for children and adults in the near North Side. The art center is intended to […]
Chiara Galimberti: I sat down with my 13-year-old twin daughters Oona and Florence to talk about their experience of being kids in Chicago. As a parent it was sometimes painful to hear about how the dynamics of Chicago have hurt my daughters, and at the same time I felt heartened by their ability to imagine […]
I recently had an argument with my English teacher because she calls us “kids.” I told her that I didn’t like her calling me a “kid” because it means baby goat—I AM NOT AN ANIMAL—and that’s what kid means. She didn’t stop calling us kids though and instead told us we are “naïve and stupid.” […]
This interview transcript was edited down to about one-third the of original length. This transcript comes from an interview that Rozalinda Borcila and Jacob Klippenstein recorded with Torii Crider, an organizer with Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) at the Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) office (at 61st and St. Lawrence) on July 31, […]
This story is from a zine titled Gender Matters that is compiled by Carrie Colpitts. Here’s a short explanation about Gender Matters from Carrie: “It’s a collection of writings from trans/gender-fluid folks focusing on adolescence, growing up and transitioning. The idea to put it together came when one of my students asked for an extra copy […]
In 2013 the politics of adoption were front and center. Melissa Harris-Perry’s “What’s So Funny About 2013?” segment that poked fun at Mitt Romney’s Black adopted grandson and the launch of Land of a Gazillion Adoptees magazine exploded the myth that adoption is a private individual or family issue. But it was the Baby Veronica […]
Our society routinely treats kids unfairly. They are misunderstood, written off, and talked to as if they are younger than they are. Adults assume that kids are unable to make their own decisions and unable to think for themselves. This changes as kids get older, until at some point, many of them will ultimately treat […]
The Chicago Student Union (CSU), the first high school student–organized union in the history of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system, formed over the months following the controversial closing of 49 elementary, middle, and high schools by the city of Chicago Board of Education in spring 2013. Initiated, led, and represented by students from high […]
This section addresses questions of agency and self-definition.
In the language of aspiring adults, “child” can be a dis or a prop. When you are childish you are petty and irrational. When you are childlike, you are innocent and fresh. To be grown is to see the child as the other, as what you no longer are: your lost inner child, or weakness […]
Growing Up With The CPD is a series of audio interviews exploring the relationship between young people and law enforcement in Chicago. The project is initiated/facilitated by Francesco De Salvatore. Featured are Patrick C. Blanton, David Dixon, Julissa Garcia, Neto Perdomo, Eliseo Real. They are members of the Young Fugitives, a performance group consisting of […]
Wednesday, April 23, 5-8 PM Read/Write Library 914 N. California – (enter on Walton Ave) Chicago, IL 60622 To release our new issue, we invite YOU to help create the cover! Join us for a multi-generational gathering with conversation, music, food and activities. People of all ages welcome. This is an accessible space. What do […]
AREA Chicago and Friends of Blackstone Library present Writing Children January 22, at 6:00 PM Blackstone Library, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave Facebook event here To explore the politics of being a child, AREA invites you to consider writing about childhood as a political project. Contributors to our forthcoming Issue #14: KIDS! will read from their articles, and reflect […]
Saturday, August 24th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM McCormick Tribune YMCA 1834 N. Lawndale Ave During the “Youth Rise Up – Radical Resistance” summit, Chicago Childcare Collective will facilitate activities with 7-12 year olds, to generate images of a future Chicago in the year 2038 for the next issue of AREA. Please participate in this […]
I usually try to preface this conversation with a joke or something that indicates how many people find me rather nice, or how I attract sick puppies and butterflies, or I drop an anecdote about my authentic and lasting relationships with people across different generations. Why? Because raising the question of the social construction of […]
As a case manager for a community mental health agency, I meet with nursing home residents to discuss the possibility of independent living. While completing intake paperwork, one routine question I ask is if the resident has ever experienced homelessness. Several tell me they currently are. In a state lacking infrastructure and funding for mental […]
The woman threw a sideways glance towards her husband. “We can’t,” she seemed to say as a drawn but sturdy man with a South Side accent rifled around in a drawer and, relying on a thin cane, hobbled toward them with a short stack of papers. “Just fill out the first page,” he said, licking […]
The Black Cinema House (BCH) inhabits a formerly abandoned two-flat in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. In 2012, artist Theaster Gates restored the house, installing a state-of-the-art screening room. The space is programmed by Gates’s Rebuild Foundation and is partially funded by a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Placemaking grant. The BCH has a two-part […]
Victor Gaskins is quick to point out that St. Leonard’s House is not really a housing provider. Housing is simply a benefit of participating in the program that this “re-entry services facility”—commonly known as a halfway house—offers to men being released from Illinois’ prison system. Gaskins, who has acted as director of the Near West […]
I live at the White Rose Catholic Worker, an intentional community that focuses on faith, resistance, sustainability, and hospitality. There are over 150 Catholic Worker houses of hospitality in the US. Our movement was founded in the 1930s by Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day as an experiment in practicing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and […]
Many families today live in discrete units, geographically distant from extended family or kin, parenting in isolation. In Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center , bell hooks critiques this state of parenting, arguing for tax-funded public childcare centers and the equal participation of men in childcare. As parents living in Stone Soup Co-op , we […]
Poverty and homelessness are receiving an increased amount of national attention lately as people finally realize that their stereotypes of what these issues “look like” are far off track. With the economy continuing to slide, more and more individuals and families are losing their jobs, their housing, their health, and their comfort. We are finally […]
The impact of housing gentrification on school enrollments is rarely studied in a systematic manner. There is evidence that the demographic shifts accompanying gentrification lead to a reduction in the number of school-aged children in a neighborhood and, as a 2006 Loyola University report indicated, gentrification processes in Chicago are lowering population densities as single […]
The neighborhood of Pilsen was on the front lines of the real estate boom of the early 2000s. New condominiums were constructed, warehouses were converted into lofts, and local residents led protests at City Hall and held community meetings opposing speculative real estate development. Many individuals and organizations such as the Pilsen Alliance and its […]
Ernesto is a carpetlayer. Benigno is a house painter. Nathan is a musician. Adriana is a hairdresser. Randy is a theater set builder. José works in a printing plant. They are all renters in a few buildings that I own cooperatively in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, which for more than a century has been […]
A black and white print leaning against the window depicts a pair of sinister businessmen sitting and digging into a cake with “Pilsen” scrawled across its front. A dog—an emaciated Chihuahua—guards a few scraps between its front paws, waiting for another crumb to fall to the floor. A sign in the background translates to: “Your […]
A group associated with AREA Chicago has been working for a little over a year on the CHA Drive By Project, an attempt to gather and archive audio narratives from current and former residents of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), particularly those affected by the CHA’s Plan for Transformation. As our work progressed, we became […]