by Sunny Eimer and Madisonia Thompson, The I Project
On August 10th at 9 a.m., The I Project's "Day of Action" event renewed investment in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood.
With check-in starting at 9 a.m., canvassers, volunteers, elected officials, school administrators, and young artists from the community met at Bouchet Elementary, the school with which The I Project has been working with since 2016. Following speeches and performances by the team and guest speakers and artists, canvassers were assigned areas of the neighborhood, then went house to house to discuss and distribute the Community Needs Assessment which, when complete, will catalyze groundbreaking, community-oriented initiatives that prioritize the holistic understanding and investment into the lives of Black and Brown students: the future of the Education Emancipation initiative.
The Day of Action was an opportunity for local youth to get involved in accessible activism in the form of the first inclusive and neighborhood-specific community needs assessment of South Shore. The I Project team and their supporters discussed the correlation between guns, education, and quality of life, as well as how investing in Black and Brown lives can revitalize an entire community. A main objective of the day was to inform the public of their previous work for the community and of their willingness to do much more. The needs assessment is something South Shore has seen before, but not to the extent of The I Project's Day of Action.
Invest time, energy, and resources into a neighborhood of predominantly low-income Black people is groundbreaking. With the sponsorship of CPS, Lyft, and the Obama Foundation, in collaboration with the revolutionary mindsets of the young The I Project team, The I Project's campaign to combat gentrification, violence, and poverty through community outreach and collaboration has the potential to redefine local activism and the futures of young people of color.
Learn more about The I Project’s work by visiting theiproject.co or following them on Twitter and Instagram @itstheiproject.
by Ana Amaya (CFS) & Maia Cho
The Chicago Freedom School (CFS) has been a central actor in the Chicago organizing scene for years. Inspired by the freedom school model pioneered by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during Freedom Summer, the Chicago Freedom School brings young people of color together to become social justice activists, organizers, and leaders. Through dialogues and healing, they enhance Chicago youth's connection to their histories and dismantle the systems that oppress marginalized youth.
In one of their programs - the fellowship program - CFS selects 20 youth of color (ages 13-17) to receive training to become community changemakers. Participants develop skills and analysis for dismantling injustice, learn about past and present social movements, and grow from "being themselves, crying, laughing, playing games, meditating, doing yoga, talking, doing art and music, dancing and many other things!" (Stipend and CTA fare provided.)