May 30, 2013, by AW
ZF and I worked together for our last Action Project in Policy to start a conversation on our streets and through the internet about sexual harassment and rape culture. We did this using the Slutwalk movement as an example, but taking our own spin on it. We designed our own mini posters (pictured above) to put up in our neighborhoods and available for others to put up in their areas. We wanted to create a physical message in the common area we were addressing- the streets. Though we gave people every opportunity to put up signs, we learned that it is often harder to get people to go out and take action than it is to get them to like our posts online. That being said, we are still very proud of what we did. We got over 70 people to like and reblog our posts relating to the event that we created. We are leaving the original post up, and we hope to keep getting the word out. Below is a slideshow with our presentation about the project and our experiences participating.
May 30, 2013, by zf
AW and I worked together for our last Action Project in Policy to start a conversation on our streets and through the internet about sexual harassment and victim blaming in our lives. We did this using the Slutwalk movement as an example, but taking our own spin on it. We designed our own mini posters (pictured right) to put up in our neighborhoods and available for others to put up in their areas. We wanted to create a physical message in the common area we were addressing- the streets. Though we gave people every opportunity to put up signs, we learned that it is often harder to get people to go out and take action than it is to get them to like our posts online. That being said, we are still very proud of what we did. We got over 70 people to like and reblog our posts relating to the event that we created. We are leaving the original post up, and we hope to keep getting the word out.
All photos are original and Creative Commons by AW and ZF.
May 30, 2013, by JP
For my final action project in Policy, HM, GL, DC, GF, CA and myself worked together to prevent gun violence in Chicago through a youth-led organization called Project Orange Tree that affiliates itself closely with Lupe Fiasco’s foundation. Project Orange Tree is a campaign that wants to teach youth about gun violence and the roots of structural violence that perpetuate it. We got out on the streets and passed out buttons and flyers in neighborhoods around Chicago to help build awareness. In the end, we created a video with interviews that we conducted, footage of us around Chicago, a poem we wrote about gun violence, and other violence prevention efforts such as Cure Violence and the Chicago Police Department. Below is the video we created:
POLICY PROJECT AS ACTION: Project Orange Tree from GF on Vimeo.
May 30, 2013, by HM
For our final action project in Policy, CA, GL, DC, GF, JP and I worked together to prevent gun violence in Chicago through a youth-led organization called Project Orange Tree that affiliates itself closely with Lupe Fiasco’s foundation. Project Orange Tree is a campaign that wants to teach youth about gun violence and the roots of structural violence that perpetuate it. We got out on the streets and passed out buttons and flyers in neighborhoods around Chicago to help build awareness. In the end, we created a video with interviews that we conducted, footage of us around Chicago, a poem we wrote about gun violence, and other violence prevention efforts such as Cure Violence and the Chicago Police Department. For this project, I was in charge of creating a storyboard for this video, helping write the group poem, and just filling in wherever I was needed. My experience throughout this process was really transformative. I learned so much about this epidemic which I had previously been admittedly blind and somewhat ignorant to. It was particularly special to take part in handing out buttons and flyers on Saturday because I felt like I was actually taking action to put an end to this major issue that is plaguing our city, instead of just talking about it and living in fear of where it will go. I’m so glad I got to have the experience that I did and feel more well-rounded and globally aware because of it. Please check out the short documentary my group and I created below!
POLICY PROJECT AS ACTION: Project Orange Tree from GF on Vimeo.
May 29, 2013, by HD
For my final action project in the class, Policy, we had to align ourselves with an event or organization that advocated for a common that we saw being abused. I chose Bike the Drive since it advocated for cleaner transportation in the city of Chicago and world wide. I joined in and even created my own fundraising page to raise money for the two participating organizations, World Bicycle Relief and Active Transportation Alliance. Below is my documented experiences at Bike the Drive. Through interviews with fellow bikers, a couple photos and a written description. Hope you enjoy!
Bike the Drive is a yearly event in Chicago where participants get the opportunity to bike on Lake Shore Drive for a few hours in the morning. Bike the drive began in 2002 to raise funds for programs trying to expand Chicago’s biking network and promoting biking as a primary mode of transportation. Which is why I picked this for my project as action. Since I feel biking in Chicago is not safe enough for bikers and we never get enough space on the road, I had to try and help out whatever way I could. Also, who wouldn’t want to Bike on Lake Shore Drive!
Now In 1963 Richard J. Daley had Chicago’s 18.5 mile long lakefront trail officially designated for bikes which is great. But I feel they should be doing more events like this and making it easier for bikers to get around the city more often. Ciclovia for example, is an event that supports healthier modes of transportation. First originated in Colombia it is now also in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, United States and Israel. It is once a week instead of only once a year. This what I feel Bike the Drive should be like as well, a weekly event not a yearly event. We need more of a push for biking advocacy in Chicago and all around our country.
That is why I went to Bike the Drive on Sunday and it was spectacular. So many happy energetic people excited just to be out there biking the Drive. When I first hopped on the Drive I remember feeling Lake Michigan’s cool breeze almost caress my face and body. Sending shivers down my back, but throughout the bike I began to appreciate the cool breeze. Keeping me from getting too hot.
At times the sound of laughter and people around me conversing were a little too boisterous. Feeling almost naggy for thinking that I quickly tuned it out and began talking with my Dad, or listening to the lakes calming waters pushing back and forth almost like a dance. I especially liked the few times people would be playing some tunes from the back of their bicycles. Grabbing some old school boom-boxes and adding a dash of creativity. They had their own moving concert on the back of their bikes for everyone to enjoy the delightful music they were playing.
Nearing the 13th mile me and my Dad decided to call it quits. His knees were starting to hurt a lot and I was pretty exhausted myself to be honest. We made it a mission of ours to get some good grub before the long train ride home due to our aching bodies. We decided to stop by Epic Burger for some good old manly food. We both got our cheeseburgers with fries and went to work on our well deserved meals. My first bite was heaven. A barrage of cheesy meaty goodness attacked my taste buds. Commencing an all out assault of divine deliciousness that I felt was a quite adequate award for our hard work. After the battle was over I was able to quench my thirst with a ice cold soda and we were on our way.
But not before I picked up some interviews from some fellow bikers along the way. Here are the three recorded interviews I got from some bikers who go by the name of, Timothy, Abby and Steven.
This is Abby. Born and raised in Chicago she is an avid biker and has participated in Bike the Drive a few times
Timothy has done Bike the Drive a few times as well. He loves it and biking in Chicago he feels is dangerous.
This is Steven. Steven also is from Chicago and bikes to work all the team. He feels the safety of biking depends on how you follow the rules.
In conclusion I felt that this whole event was a blast and I look forward to doing more events like this one over the summer. The people were friendly and It was a new experience for me to bike on the Drive. If you would like to check out my fundraising page I will have a link in at the end of this posting so maybe you guys can help out my cause as well!
May 29, 2013, by JH
For my final project in Policy we created a documentary about food deserts in urban areas of Chicago. I created this documentary with SM, HP, and LN. For this video we focussed a lot on Link Up Chicago, a program that tries to get farmers market vendors to allow LINK to be used, in exchange for a lower cost on products. This involved us going to a farmers market and interviewing the people working. We had some great footage, great interviews, and we had a blast- you can see our video below.
LN made a poem capturing the sense of our experience, you can read it below.
People walking on the ground, a ground full of seeds and weeds a ground desperate for trees. Trees where wind echoes like a curious hungry dog, that only becomes more hungry when a man bites an apple. An unforgettable smell like garlic melting through my nose. Making it difficult for me to smell anything else in the atmosphere, this is the farmers market.
May 28, 2013, by AW
The third unit of our humanities class, Policy, focused on rights. Our action project was to find an organization that promoted a human right and volunteer for them. Being a feminist who loves to read, I chose to serve Chicago Books to Women in Prison, which empowers and educates women behind bars by delivering donated books to them. I created a flyer, which you can see below, that explains more about the organization and encourages people to donate. At school and at home I collected two or three large boxes of books to take to the organization. The following is a reflection on the service experience.
Every time I’ve lived abroad, I’ve been desperate to get my hands on books. Anything I found to read felt like an incredible gift, like an oasis in the literary desert I was facing.
This, of course, is incomparable to being incarcerated. Still, it was what I immediately thought of when I learned about the organization Chicago Books to Women in Prison. As the name suggests, it is a volunteer group based in Chicago that delivers books to women in prison. The books they send come from their library of donated books.
I knew as soon as I learned about CBWP that I wanted to help collect books for them, so I was excited when there was a chance to do so as an action project. I first educated myself as much as possible about the organization by reading online, then made a flyer to educate those I was requesting books from. People responded very well to my requests, and I was astounded at how many books I wound up bringing to CBWP: enthusiasm doesn’t always translate into action, so I was grateful that in this case it did.
CBWP has a list of genres and types of books that are most requested or least supplied; books that, for whatever reason, they need more of. Many are unusual or highly specific. I saw the list as a challenge. I knew that between friends, family, and people at school, we would be able to cover a lot of this less-trodden territory.
I emphasized the list on my flyer and asked certain people specifically about genres they might have. There was a spectrum of reactions to this that can be fairly well represented in three stages. The first was actually the first person I showed the list to, a friend of mine. She looked down the list and… “Oh no! My moms have the most impressive libraries of queer and lesbian nonfiction I’ve ever seen, but I just helped clear out the apartment last week!” This missed chance was made up for by the requests that were answered at school. At a place like GCE many of the niche genres CBWP searches for can be easily found on the shelves of teachers or students.
And then there were surprises as to where the hard-to-come-by books could be found. My mom took a look at the flyer and decided to putter around our apartment to see what else could be scrounged up. We wound up with a sizeable pile that hit a number of requested topics, especially Latin American history.
It felt incredibly rewarding to be collecting books, but even more so knowing I was helping fill the gaps they most wanted help with. The Sunday I dropped the donations off, I was greeted by a small but very friendly group of volunteers. They were welcoming, and pleased to see all the books I had to offer. I love getting books from the library or the bookstore, but leaving those books behind at CBWP’s little location felt even better.
Incarcerated women are sometimes forgotten members of our society. Too often they are remembered only by their crimes. But they are people whose imaginations can be captured by stories like anyone else’s, people whose thirst for knowledge is no less than that of a free person, and people who deserve the chance at education, entertainment, and empowerment that books offer.
May 16, 2013, by JP
For my third action project in my policy class, I had to identify a human right and volunteer at an organization that supported that human right. The right that I chose was housing. The organization I volunteered for was H.O.M.E. Home stands for housing opportunties and maintenance for the elderly. I volunteered for three hours there. Below is my experience working at Home and my reflections on it.
A burger. I look at burgers differently now. Why? You may wonder. Well it is all because of an experience I had volunteering at Home(Housing Opportunties and Maintenance for the Elderly). When I was at Home I offered my gardening skills and worked on a beatification volunteer project with other DMSF volunters( this service day was arranged by my scholarship Daniel Murphey) for three hours. We worked our hardest. We pulled weeds, weeds, and more weeds. Then we layed down mulch and flowers. Working on this project I meet a few new people I didn’t know. There were about 20 volunteers and we were divided into groups. I enjoyed working with my group. The volunteers there( even though most were younger then me) were very delightful, energetic, and hard workers. Even though we did not get to meet many people who lived there that day, I know they were happy with the work we did. I know this for a fact because one of the women who lived there was watching us work the whole time. After we were finished she thanked us so much for all our hard worked. She really loved what we had done. Now burgers. You may be wondering what does all this have to do with burgers as I mentioned at the beginning. Well a women named Natille worked there. She was so sweet( and I just loved her Jamaican accent). To show her appreciation for all the hard work we did she grilled us burgers. Now we were not suppose to be feed anything. We had only brought snacks to eat. However Natille was just so grateful for the work we did she gave us burgers anyway. Now when I look at a burger or eat one I always think of the experience I had at Home. And it is a reminder to me that when we help people(even though it might be a small action) people appreciate the help you give them. After finishing this service day I related it to my class and discussed it with them. They could relate to the human right I was addressing: Housing for the elderly. They talked about how their grandparents have care takers and those care takers do a lot for their grandparents. Some of them have to travel with the family and be away from their own family to take care of them. The question posed was: is doing this kind of work a burden or something they enjoy doing? What do you think?
May 14, 2013, by JH
For my Policy (English & History) class we were tasked with doing three hours of service to an organization of our choice. This project was inspired by a field experience we did to Lincoln Park Community Center (LPCS). I had a great time doing my service, and you can read about it below!
After going to TedEx myself and my Policy class were tasked with doing three hours of service, and it couldn’t have worked any better. Durring TedEx we watched a speaker who advocated for public gardens with his slogan Grow Some Shit (see the Ted Talk here!). Meanwhile at GCE there was word of us starting a public garden outside the school so we could have access to fresh produce, and flowers. If this garden continues as planned I would hope we would be able to feed those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to healthy food, a human right that I think everyone should have.
To make this whole experience possible we were tasked with tilling the hard, trash-covered soil outside of our school in order to make it usable for summer when planting would begin. I’m happy that I was able to be outside with my friends working on a project that will impact many people in the future. I think I’ve got a new-found gratitude for where my food comes from and what people do to prepare and farm it. I also have a new sense of awareness that not everyone has access to fruits and vegetables, and that many low income residents in Chicago are located in a Food Desert. I would hope with more awareness on public gardens the amount of food deserts around Chicago (and all of the US) could continue to decrease until everyone has access to healthy produce.
I’ve noticed that there were a ton of different options of community service to pick from in Chicago: from tilling a soon-to-be garden, to serving at a soup kitchen. I’m hoping that what I did can have as big of an impact if not a larger one. This project has inspired me to want to do more help and I will definitely continue working on the garden at school. I’ve noticed that most kids tend to run away from the idea of community service (myself included) and I think that could change as I had fun with friends while helping!
I believe that being able to eat healthy food cheap (or even free!) is such a simple idea that could be solved for simply. Everyone should have access to such basic rights like water, shelter, and food! It makes me happy that what I am working on will one day help out many others, or even make other people want to do the same somewhere else.
May 13, 2013, by zf
After many years working as a teacher’s assistant at my temple, it was an honor to come back for their last day and teach an art course with them. When I was a regular assistant, I faced many challenges and I learned a lot. I taught and took care of 3 and 4 year olds, kids who were just starting to learn about their Jewish identity, and I taught a fifth grade class where I worked almost exclusively with a young boy with Asberger’s. I also used to organize art programming during my junior year of high school. Going back to class with these kids was amazing. I planned a different project for each class and I spent 20-30 minutes in each, using the art to teach the kids about Judaism and their community.
For me, growing up with religious school every Sunday was not always a gift. I was always the student to argue with our teacher. I always wanted to have the loudest voice, the boldest opinion. I still feel that way a lot, but I also have an immense appreciation for the education I got while I was in religious school. Religious freedom is a human right, but beyond that, humans have the right to a community. Sunday school opened the door for me to start thinking about my religious identity, but it helped me on a deeper level by giving me a group of people I could connect to in a basic way.
I worked with many children, but I also worked with the educational director at my temple, Lori S. She and I spoke about the meaning of community and I was inspired by our conversation. She has known me since I was a baby, and she watched me grow up, through the good times and bad. One thing that she said struck me, which is that we are here not just for the students, but for the families and the congregation as a whole. I agree with this. To use myself as an example, I grew up going to Sunday school, being taught by teachers and teacher’s assistants. When I was old enough, I became a teacher’s assistant. I then taught other kids, and I participated at temple events, showing my students that this was something cool and interesting. It is a circle and I am a part of it.
My art programming came at the end of the year, so I could only really see the product of the work that the teachers at temple did, but my mother was the preschool teacher there, and she was able to come home every Sunday with a new story of something she taught her students. For my programming, I had the kids do some variation of a project based around the question “what does being Jewish mean to you?” And I was able to get some amazing responses. Unforunately, all of the kids took their pieces home with them, but I was able to see real inspiration, based around a Jewish identity.