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‘The Sorrowing City’

“Urban Delarosa: The Sorrowing City” is a work of sacred music and art that grows out of Urban Delarosa, an ecumenical, citywide anti-violence ministry.  It will be premiered Tuesday night at St. Sabina Church, with performances scheduled at other locations around town every night this week.

It features music by Fr. Vaughn Fayle with libretto by Rev. Susan Johnson, both of Hyde Park United Church, with performances by several youth choirs, spoken word performance by Mama Brenda Matthews, and photos from “Too Young to Die” by Carlos Javier Ortiz.

More details at

Immigrant youth and mental health

Youth and community organizers will join researchers and practitioners for a panel discussion exploring the unique mental health challenges faced by young people whose careers and dreams are thwarted by their immigration status.  It takes place Tuesday, November 1, at 3:30 p.m. at the Adler School of Psychology, 17 N. Dearborn.

Two recent productions of the Local Reporting Initiative deal with aspects of this issue: “Undocumented Youth: Waiting, Dreaming, and Falling Through the Cracks,” by The Gate newspaper, and “Why Are Latina Teens At-Risk for Suicide?” by Latina Voices and Mujeres Latinas.  More at

Youth in motion – from Hip Hop to soccer

Young people get a lot of bad press, but with the support of community groups, many are seeking out positive paths in an increasingly difficult world.  Tomorrow two events – a hip hop festival and a soccer league gathering – highlight some of the alternatives.

The Pros Arts Studio’s Sixth Annual We R Hip Hop Festival showcases local musicians, artists, breakdancers and poets in Pilsen and Little Village, emphasizing the noncommercial, positive aspects of hip-hop culture.

It takes place at Dvorak Park, 1119 W. Cullerton, from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 13.  Read the rest of this entry »

Covering youth violence

With WBBM-TV demonstrating how not to do it, Community Media Workshop’s Ethnic Media Project offers suggestions for improving coverage youth violence, including:

  • Encourage young people to speak for themselves, promoting youth-created media to give them the opportunity to do so. Agencies that provide media training for their leaders, for example, can include young people served by the agency as spokespersons. Read the rest of this entry »

Students target school discipline policies

While a new mayor and schools chief are promising to reduce the dropout rate in Chicago schools, a group of CPS students is pointing to the school system’s “harsh discipline policies” as “a major obstacle to graduation.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Youth call for jobs program to curb violence

While young people at loose ends roam Chicago’s streets, some of them causing trouble, elected officials continue to do little about crisis-level youth unemployment.

Nearly 100 Chicago area youth calling for funding for a summer jobs program were turned away today after they announced plans for a 24-hour sit-in at the Thompson Center to demand an emergency meeting with Governor Quinn.

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Youth spectacle’ transforms nature museum

The Redmoon Youth Spectacle, a massive “spectacle art” installation created by hundreds of Chicago students, takes over the south gallery and terrace of the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum for four nights this week.

Some 750 young people, including CPS students and residents of the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, worked with Redmoon‘s Neighborhood Arts Program to design, create, engineer and perform a series of interpretations of their experience of Chicago’s urban ecology.

Redmoon shared the tools of the spectacle art for which it is known, including puppetry, gadgetry, surreal contraptions, acrobatics, sound installation and shadow animation, said Sean Kaplan.  Kids love it, he said.

Installations that were constructed at community sites are being transported to the museum, and about 60 kids are participating in performances which will transform the installations into a “living exhibition.”   Performances take place hourly between 6 and 9 p.m., Wednesday May 18 through Friday the 20th.  A 6:30 p.m. performance on Tuesday, May 17 is followed by a panel discussion by artists and educators.

Admission is $10, $3 for students, $25 for a family of five.  The Notebart Museum is at 2430 N. Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park.

‘I, too, am America’

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

–Langston Hughes

DREAM Act students from the Immigrant Youth Justice League, sons and daughters of Chicago, speaking out at the Daley Plaza on March 10, “crossing the border of fear.”

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  • Telling people’s stories, an ethnic media success September 2, 2015
        By Stephen Franklin Community Media Workshop   A 3-year-old child died on a plane from Chicago to Poland. This, Magdalena Pantelis instantly knew, was a story her readers would care about. But she needed more detail to write about it for the Polish Daily News, the nation’s oldest daily newspaper in Polish, founded Jan. […]




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