Erin Franzinger: May 2009 Archives

Social Justice Student Expo

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Chicago Youth Initiating Change, a local group composed of students and teachers organizing for social justice initiatives, hosted the 2009 Social Justice Student Expo at the UIC campus on Friday, May 22. I attended as a chaperon with a student group from Little Village Lawndale's Social Justice High School.

Throughout the day, several hundred high school and junior high students led or attended workshops and presented research about topics ranging from Renaissance 2010 to the foreclosure crisis. I attended a workshop about the controversial Willie Lynch letter and the unsourced Let's Make a Slave text that often accompanies it. Rather than using these texts as basis for a historical lecture, the students used them as a starting point to examine social power and oppression. The presenters and the audience handled the difficult source material maturely and pushed to make it relevant to their lived experience -- fulfilling the expo's goal of collaborative teaching and learning about social justice.

At the end of the day, students regrouped for a "talent show," sharing poetry, spoken word pieces, songs, and even some very impressive footwork, both from audience members and a Chicago footwork troupe, the FootworKINGZ.

The expo showed off the best qualities of Chicago youth -- creativity, intelligence, self-reflection, energy, and compassion.

City as Laboratory

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Speaking as a future former student of the University, I'm already feeling nostalgia for the seventh-week thrill of seeing new courses populate the timeschedules. These courses haven't necessarily signed on to participate with Chicago Studies, but to study Chicago they seem like a good bet!

From the anthropology department:
ANTH 21312 Whiteness & Power: Critical Perspectives on Race, Class, & Privilege in the US, Andrew Graan
ANTH 34000 Intro to Chicago Anthropology (staff)

From the comparative race studies department:
CRPC 27200 African-American History to 1877, Thomas Holt
CRPC 27301  Intro to Black Chicago, 1895-2005, Adam Green
CRPC 28112 Asian Americans & The Legacies of War, Theresa Mah

From the economics department:
ECON 22200 Topics:American History, David W Galenson

From the English department:
ENGL 22814 Contemporary Native American Literature, Marie Satya McDonough
ENGL 25923 Geographis of Modernism, Jonathan Geltner
ENGL 28919 Modern Literature: Diaspora/Homecoming, Jan Schwarz

From the environmental studies department:
ENST 24701 U.S. Environmental Policy, Raymond Lodato
ENST 26100 Roots of Modern American City, Michael Conzen

From the gender studies department:
GNDR 21902 Women in American Jewish History, Sarah Imhoff

From the geography department:
GEOG 27601 History Colloquium: Hyde Park & Chicago's South Side as Historic Laboratory, Kathleen Conzen

From the history department:
HIST 47501 Paris and Chicago, 1870-1930, Jan Goldstein and Kathleen Conzen

From the philosophy department:
PHIL 22209 Philosophies of Environmentalism & Sustainability, Barton Schultz

From the public policy department:
PBPL 24800 Urban Policy Analysis, Terry Clark

From the sociology department:
SOCI 20103 Social Stratification, Ross Stolzenberg
SOCI 20184 Political Culture, Social Capital, and The Arts, Terry Clark
SOCI 30303 Urban Landscape As Social Text

In your ideal schedule (one where you've finished your core), which would you take?

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido

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May 1, 1886 marked the first day of a peaceful labor protest in Chicago, led by workers demanding an eight-hour work day. This event is commemorated around the world as International Workers' Day. Chicagoans engage by organizing an annual march and rally. This year some 2,000 people braved bad weather and the public health worries of swine flu to march two-and-a-half miles from Union Park to Daley Plaza. The organizers of the rally focused on issues of immigration reform, inviting speakers and organizations from many of Chicagoland's immigrant and progressive groups. Students from Kelly High School in Brighton Park and Social Justice High School in Little Village, members of the Coalition of African Arab Asian European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois, Workers United, Gay Liberation Network, and dozens of other groups came together to celebrate their shared history and common goals, and call for decisive politcal action regarding comprehensive immigration reform. One of the most-repeated cheers of the afternoon was a strong show of solidarity with the city's large Chicano and Latino immigrant population, "Obama escucha: estamos en la lucha" (Obama, listen: we are in the struggle).

From my place in line few opponents were visible, and the event was positive, peaceful, and productive. Chicagoist has a nice selection of pictures from the day, while Progress Illinois, the Tribune, and  the ChiTown Daily News repoort on the event.